The United States is one of the largest sorghum markets in the world with an estimated 597 million bushels harvested from approximately 7 to 8 million acres in 2015. 
FRESNO, CALIFORNIA, U.S. — S&W Seed Co., a global agricultural company with operations in the United States, Australia and Canada, has signed a licensing agreement with an unnamed U.S.-based seed company for production and marketing of a proprietary hybrid grain sorghum variety in the United States as well as Mexico. The deal marks S&W Seed’s first U.S.-based licensing agreement for any of its sorghum varieties.

The United States is one of the largest sorghum markets in the world with an estimated 597 million bushels harvested from approximately 7 to 8 million acres in 2015. The crop has seen an uptick in demand for use in food products due to its gluten-free characteristics, as well as its antioxidant, high protein, low fat, high fiber and non-bioengineered properties, according to S&W Seed.

“Sorghum is gaining increasing importance throughout the world due to its efficiency as a high-energy, drought-tolerant crop that is environmentally friendly, and has favorable consumer attributes,” said Mark Grewal, chief executive officer of S&W Seed. “We believe our hybrid grain sorghum varieties are some of the highest yielding in the world, and incorporate other important traits such as disease resistance and drought tolerance. This agreement allows us entry into a growing U.S. sorghum market with a producer that has tremendous capabilities to expand production and drive distribution. We look forward to a long-term and successful relationship with this new licensee.”

U.S. sorghum traditionally is grown throughout the Sorghum Belt, which runs from South Dakota to Southern Texas, primarily on dryland acres. Recently, acreage increases have been seen in non-traditional areas like the Mississippi Delta and Southeast regions, S&W Seed said. The top five sorghum-producing states in 2015 were Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Colorado. S&W Seed estimated the U.S. sorghum seed market at between 25 million and 30 million pounds of planting seed, worth an estimated $100 million annually.

In late June, S&W Seed signed a license agreement for production and marketing of two sunflower varieties for the Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Georgia and Kazakhstan with a seed company with significant distribution throughout the region. The licensee has commenced commercial-scale seed production activity in Ukraine, and S&W Seed’s sunflower hybrids will be introduced into the marketplace for the 2017 production season.

S&W Seed said the two licensed varieties are traditional polyunsaturated oil types, but the licensee also is evaluating high oleic types, and a variety resistant to Imidazilone herbicide. Additionally, the licensee is expected to evaluate S&W Seed’s alfalfa seed products in 2017.

In addition to its agreements in the United States, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Georgia and Kazakhstan, S&W has licensing agreements with different partners to provide its grain sorghum and forage sorghum genetics throughout the world, including Australia, parts of South America, South Africa, China, Pakistan and South Africa.