Sorghum: Plant with a Future!

Sorghum is a relatively new crop at†KWS. In the past this plant was tested in different trials with the goal of sugar extraction. Further breeding projects, however, were dismissed because sugarbeet made significant progress in terms of yield and disease tolerance, hence, creating major advantages over sorghum in the production of sugar.††

Since the beginning of the biogas boom in Germany, however, the agricultural practice has been looking for more high-yield crops for substrate production. Here sorghum -as a drought-resistant plant that grows in clumps- came into the focus of research and practice.

After very promising initial variety screenings KWS launched a breeding program for energy production of sorghum in 2007.

Thus, the breeders’ objective to deal with different crops in order to establish a broad-based energy crop rotation. The goal of KWS’ sorghum breeding program is to adapt this crop to the comparatively cool weather conditions in Eastern and Western Europe. The company has 13 breeding stations and test locations worldwide to enable this. By new complex breeding methods varieties that demonstrate a good adjustment to our sites could be developed at an early stage. Main breeding targets are high yield also on light soils, cold tolerance, good lodging and leaf diseases tolerance.

Since 2013 KWS has been breeding†sorghum also for grain production with the targets of high yielding, high disease tolerance and early-mid early maturity.

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