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boosted demand for the crop. While demand is steadfast, supply is no longer meeting the growing various market needs of sorghum.


One way to meet demand and achieve producer profit- ability is by placing a key emphasis on enhancing sorghum genetics. The Sorghum Checkoff is leveraging valuable research through collaborative and strategic investments with public and private entities across the U.S. to unlock the genetic potential of sorghum to ultimately bring new and improved traits to growers’ fields.

In 2013 alone, the Sorghum Checkoff invested $3.9 million toward crop improvement.

“Devoting efforts to broad areas of seed innovation such as harvestable yield, drought tolerance, and breeding technologies are key in the advancement of grain sorghum genetics,” said Justin Weinheimer, crop improvement pro- gram director for the Sorghum Checkoff.

Although advancing sorghum genetics is no easy task, breeders are now utilizing techniques such as DNA sequencing, marker-assisted breeding and gene identi- fication to help with efficiency and success.

Unlike years past, advancements and technologies developed in other commodities are now being made available to sorghum. Weinheimer said herbicide toler- ance has eluded sorghum farmers for many years but that could soon change.

orghum is on the rise. There’s no doubt about that. An increase in productivity and interest in creative markets both domestically and internationally have

NEWS Sorghum’s Genetic Pipeline Stocked with Potential

“DuPont Pioneer is currently working toward finalizing the development of a chemical product within the ALS class of herbicides to provide growers with post-emergence grass control,” Weinheimer said. “The chemical, which currently does not have approval, Zest, will be used in conjunction with Inzen sorghum genetics, originally developed by Kan- sas State University.”

Hybrids with ALS tolerance are expected to be available to growers as early as 2016 with limited possibilities in 2015. Weinheimer said this naturally occurring, non-transgenic herbicide tolerance will bring a new age of farm-level man- agement to growers.

Diversity in sorghum genetics adds tremendous value for sorghum breeders. The USDA Agricultural Research Service center in Lubbock, Texas, with support from the Sorghum Checkoff has explored this diversity and has discovered some unique genetics in some sorghums, including a genetic line known as multiseed.

Continued on USCP Newsletter p.4

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