S&W Seed Company signed agreements with Monsanto and Forage Genetics International, LLC. (FGI) that enables the company to produce and sell seed of approved varieties containing Monsanto's Roundup Ready trait. FGI has also agreed to incorporate the Roundup Ready trait into specific S&W-developed varieties previously selected for high yield and salt tolerance.
Using classical plant breeding methods, S&W has worked hard for 30 years to become a leader in developing high yielding, non-dormant, salt tolerant varieties of alfalfa. Adoption of biotechnology has been slower to occur in Europe and other areas compared to the United States, and most of S&W's existing export customers require verification that alfalfa seed does not have biotech traits. Demand for S&W's proprietary non-biotech varieties continues to grow at a strong pace in warm climate zones where non-dormant alfalfa is the market standard. Accordingly, non-biotech varieties of alfalfa seed will continue to be a primary focus for S&W in international markets where biotech varieties have not been approved. S&W will also continue to ensure its classically bred varieties are grown under strict guidelines requiring isolation and quality control in processing.
In order to meet the needs of its many domestic customers that want Roundup Ready alfalfa, S&W has been working in collaboration with FGI to pursue the development of S&W varieties that incorporate Monsanto and FGI's advanced traits, such as the Roundup Ready trait, into S&W's own seed varieties. Any biotech varieties ultimately produced by S&W will be targeted for sale to the U.S. domestic customers, at least initially.
Mark Grewal, chief executive officer of S&W Seed Company commented, "We are pleased and honored that Monsanto and Forage Genetics chose S&W as a business partner in the alfalfa seed market. FGI and Monsanto are the undisputed world leaders in pioneering biotech research for alfalfa. We have always taken pride in our classically bred, high yielding, non-dormant, salt tolerant varieties. New S&W varieties that fill the demand for Roundup Ready technology can only expand our market within the United States. We look forward to completing the lab and field work necessary to have an S&W seed variety ready for the biotech market. In addition to the ability to sell the newly developed alfalfa seed varieties, S&W hopes to access future alfalfa seed technology developed by FGI and Monsanto under future licensing agreements."
"We are pleased S&W will introduce our Roundup Ready technology into some of their upcoming product offerings," Stephen Welker, Alfalfa Lead, Monsanto, commented. "Roundup Ready technology will provide the ability to produce higher quality and higher yielding crops that are largely free of weeds and other plants that compete for nutrients from the soil. S&W has a reputation for developing alfalfa seed varieties with a strong performance, including some of the most salt-tolerant varieties available."