Sorghum

Cattle and poultry feeds are mainly supplied by corn, sorghum, barley and other coarse grains, in addition to soyabeans and other oilseeds, and a combination of them all by way of derivatives such as meals, expellers and oilcakes. The main exporters of these products are the United States, Argentina, Brazil and Thailand. Among the heaviest importers: Russia, the EEC, Japan, China and Taiwan. In the main grain loading ports of the world, the cargo is brought to seaboard terminals by rail, road or barge. The sophisticated and developed nations have an internal network of country elevators, which are in effect collecting points for local harvesting centres. These are linked to the seaboard with an intensive bulk grain transport infrastructure – rail sidings, specialised grain hopper railcars, bulk grain road transport or special grain barges where river transport is appropriate. Where storage is inadequate, surplus stocks are held in a variety of alternative facilities, temporarily modified and pressed into service – e.g. redundant factories. Terminals at sea ports are mostly modern and use extremely high-speed elevators, equipped to unload inland transport and transfer the commodity into ships. Any port congestion, which seems a recurring problem in grain, is due to greater demands being placed on the internal and seaboard elevator capacities than can possibly be accommodated, due often to commercial pressures or to grain price structures. When one realises than an average loading rate in North American ports, for example, is between 10,000 and 20,000 daily, it can be seen that the major cause for congestion is not in the capacity of the shore equipment. As far as discharging is concerned, methods vary considerably. In more developed nations, for example the EEC and Japan, discharge may be performed by static or travelling suction unloaders. Some, however, may be bucket elevator type. Conveyor belts are used to tranship the grain from oceangoing vessel coasters or to inland transport to store in associated grain silos. In Venezuela and parts of South Korea discharge of grain may abe effected by use of portable Buhlers (SKT machines) held vertically into the vessel’s holds by the ship’s gear, and discharged direct to road transport.