If you happen to drive through Kansas, Texas, Nebraska, or even parts of Colorado, you may have noticed sorghum, also known as milo, fields dotting the landscape. The crop is gaining popularity across commercial sectors – that continued success is the focus of S&W Seed Company. The investments the company is making in both the technology and genetic advancement of the crop is helping farmers around the world profitably integrate sorghum into their crop rotations.
Within about three years, S&W went from being an alfalfa-only company to directly focusing on sunflowers, alfalfa, and more important sorghum, says Scott Staggenborg, product marketing manager for S&W Seed Company. Since 2018 S&W has opened new markets, expanded sorghum productions acres, and expanded its research focuses. S&W provides breeding expertise to help combat the challenges that face the agriculture industry while focusing on sustainable solutions for the future.
Sorghum is an “ancient” grain and is the fifth most important cereal crop worldwide. It is hardy, drought tolerant and offers a plethora of health benefits. As a bonus, the crop continues to offer exclusively non-GMO varieties – a major attraction for the human consumption and overseas markets.
“We’re having a great year because of exports,” Staggenborg says, “We’re seeing 50 to 75 cents per bushel difference between corn and sorghum grain prices right now, with sorghum being higher.”
Increasing sorghum prices help farmers to make the investment in the elite germplasm S&W provides. And with solutions to insect and disease resistance, grain quality, harvestability and tolerances to weather conditions and drought, even modest prices help producers see greater return on investment.
Through Sorghum Partnersâ, S&W has a pilot launch of their new herbicide tolerant sorghum called “Double Team” with growers in nine states in 2021.
“With three hybrids available, the team is excited to see Double Team Sorghum make it to growers’ fields,” Staggenborg says, “and as important as the technology is, we have developed a strong stewardship program to reduce herbicide resistant weeds. There are a lot of studies that show if you follow a good stewardship program, you should not see weed resistance.”
To offer continued development to the marketplace, the S&W team is continually developing and trialing new varieties. To date, the company’s field operation team plants a large number of plots in several states each year. The continual development supports breeders who are constantly looking at the next best thing with a focus on yield for maturity, yield for stability, and harvestable yield guiding research and hybrid selection.
Staggenborg says that many people are anticipating the trends and estimates from this year to hold strong for the next few years, “As sorghum continues to be on the rise, as acres and prices continue to rise, we plan to continue adopting new technology and improved hybrids to meet the demand of U.S. sorghum growers.”
To see this CoffeeTalk in action, visit the AGI Community news page.