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USDA Funds K-State Sorghum Production Research
Kansas Ag Connection - 09/13/2023

Kansas State University (K-State) recently received a noteworthy nod from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), securing a grant of nearly $1 million. This award underscores the university's dedication to leading the charge in sorghum production research, a crop predominantly grown in Kansas.

The funding aims to empower the university to create a robust network of both public and private entities. Their shared goal is to overcome technological obstacles in sorghum production and pave the way for superior seed traits in the coming years.

K-State is a key player in the state's agriculture sector, has made significant investments in sorghum research, fostering innovation through public programs and collaborating with the private seed industry, as recognized by the USDA.

Kansas Grain Sorghum data shows that the state produces 200 million bushels annually, accounting for nearly half of the U.S.'s grain sorghum output. This production generates $1.8 billion, with $869 million from exports.

K-State is focusing on developing sorghum varieties resistant to pests and diseases, with a particular focus on sugarcane aphid resistance. Through international collaboration, the team identified resistant traits in exotic sorghum strains and identified the genetic basis of this resistance.

This USDA award only amplifies K-State's resolve. Early collaborators in this significant venture include notable organizations like the United Sorghum Checkoff, the Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission, and prominent seed companies such as Innovative Seed Solutions and Corteva AgriScience.

Sorghum innovation mainly happens in two different ways: either through individual research discoveries or through high-yield hybrid developments by seed developers. The key is in combining these paths, ensuring they work together, a task K-State is actively pursuing.

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