Writer: Kathleen Davis Phillips, (979) 845-2872, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Dr. Fred Miller, (979) 845-2151, John Fielek, (979) 845-4051
COLLEGE STATION — A new line of grain sorghum that will play as well in Timbuktu as Texas has been released to seed companies by the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.
“Within three years, there will be widespread planting of sorghum for grain and forage using this line,” said Dr. Fred Miller, an Experiment Station scientist who has worked since 1979 to develop the new line, A/BTx638.
Miller said the project sought to develop a line that would be adaptable to most sorghum-growing regions of the world. That helps seed companies reduce inventory costs since it is then unnecessary to stock numerous bags of planting seed intended for specific growing regions.
A/BTx638 is the female parent of hybrids that commercial seed companies will use in their seed production and breeding programs, Miller said. Advantageous traits from this parent include short height, uniformity, resistance to anthracnose and a brilliant red color that does not dull in weather.
“It also has superior tropical adaptation which is an advantage in South Texas,” Miller added. “And it has drought tolerance as well which makes it suitable for the High Plains. “All of these qualities translate into a 8 percent to 12 percent increase in yield depending on the producing area,” he said.
The line is derived from a selection made in Guatemala in 1979. The breeding program continued from selections made on plants produced both in the highlands and coastal regions of Guatemala, then in Texas and Central America. Miller said the line’s breeding history “shows the value of international collaboration and wide environmental exposure in the selection process.”
The researcher said several companies already have requested seed to plant in Hawaii, Mexico and Puerto Rico to increase the planting seed availability. He predicts that planting seed will be on the market for farmers within two years.
For information about the new sorghum line, A/BTx638, contact Texas Foundation Seed, a unit of the Experiment Station, at (979) 845-4051.