A greater interest in forage sorghums from the beef and dairy industries has led to a multi-year agreement between Land O’Lakes, Inc’s wholly owned subsidiary Forage Genetics International, LLC (FGI) and Texas A&M AgriLife Research.
For more than 25 years, FGI has led the forage industry with innovative genetic discoveries, variety developments and cutting-edge alfalfa product introductions. Shawn Barnett, FGI president, noted that “this collaboration opportunity expands FGI’s efforts to deliver best-in-class forage solutions to customers and relentlessly pursue advancement in the forage industry.”
Similarly, AgriLife Research has been working on forage sorghums for upwards of 20 years, and with this program they are looking to expand forage activities. AgriLife Research represents world class research and aligns with what FGI wants to deliver to customers.
Dr. Bill Rooney of AgriLife said that the key challenges in the forage industry are to improve quality while maintaining productivity and agronomic desirability so producers are confident in feeding it at the dairy or feedlot.
To combat this challenge, AgriLife will use funding from FGI to expand existing breeding programs to develop seed and pollinator parents with good leaf characteristics and yields. This will be executed through Rooney’s research on the development of grain, forage and bioenergy sorghum parental lines for the production of commercial hybrids. His breeding program has evaluation sites throughout the U.S.
In these breeding programs, Rooney is continually looking to improve the crop for whatever challenges arise, such as sugarcane aphids, foliar diseases and other stress tolerances to improve overall productivity and quality.
Dr. Bill McCutchen, executive associate director of AgriLife Research, College Station said that this collaboration does not only strengthen the AgriLife program and FGI’s potential product development, but “it will help identify forage sorghum traits that will benefit producers and all of the industry in years to come.”
As a result of this collaboration, FGI can continue its intense focus on technology and hybrid development. The joint effort will provide FGI customers with cutting edge solutions to productivity in their forage operations.
In addition, as part of the agreement, FGI will have an option to license intellectual property developed in the program. Initially, all the breeding processes under the new agreement will be conducted at the College Station area facilities.