Renewed sales are being reported for U.S. sorghum, corn gluten feed and distiller's dried grains with soluble into the European Union. Sorghum shipments, primarily bound for Spain, with smaller shipments to France and the Netherlands, stood at 18 million bushels as of March 10. Outstanding sales totaled an additional 8.8 million bushels. Chris Corry, U.S. Grain Council's senior director of international operations, notes the improved sales are a benefit of the EU releasing feed barley from its intervention stocks and dropping its import tariff on sorghum.
"It was the Council that worked to get the tariff eliminated," Corry said. "We sent in Council staff and consultants to meet with the EU levy commission, and we proposed a different way to calculate the levy. Right now, it reflects a lack of understanding of U.S. barley and sorghum price relationships. So far, the levy commission has eliminated the levy but won't adjust how they calculate it until their new crop year begins July 1."
Cary Sifferath, USGC regional director for the Mediterranean and Africa, says the EU will continue to be a problematic market as new biotechnology events and stacked traits await approval. The tide of U.S. sorghum sales could also change if Europe has a good crop year. Sifferath says European grain traders are fairly confident that Russia will produce 80 to 85 million tons of grain in 2011 but will not re-enter the export business until the government has a good handle on actual grain production.