Grain Sorghum Seed Developer Focusing on the Southeast

In growing or researching grain sorghum, it may have become apparent that there’s companies involved in variety development and seed production that are unfamiliar here in the southeast. Chromatin Inc. based in Chicago is one of those companies, and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program recently awarded a $1 million for variety development to Chromatin. Ken Davenport, Chief Technology Officer for Chromatin:

“The purpose of the grant is to focus on the development of new grain sorghum hybrids, not just for the traditional growing areas, from the Texas Gulf Coast into Nebraska, but across the US from North Carolina to California.”

Davenport explains that one of the first traits they’ll be working on for grain sorghum will be increasing yield:

“First and foremost its always about yield, that is the key aspect for any grower. Yield has many elements, is the crop harvestable, does that crop stand, what is the quality of the yield. We are focusing on a number of aspects around yield in terms of quantity and quality, the ability to harvest, and grain sorghum that is applicable across the country.”

And one of the things Chromatin will be working on according to Davenport is developing varieties that are suited to the southeastern heat and especially humidity, along with the diseases those conditions bring:

“One of the things we will be looking at under this grant is how do we move a crop that has been central to Texas-Oklahoma-Kansas-Nebraska, how do we move that into the Southeast where there are some big challenges with disease, climate and humidity. We will be looking at diseases that are more indigenous to the southeast that are less problematic in the drier climates.”

Davenport says that Chromatin sees the value of expanding development of sorghum varieties that will flourish in the southeast:

“We see the market opportunity there as really two fold, there is the traditional agricultural market of food and feed. Given the hog and poultry industry we feel it is underserved with grain sorghum. We are poised to participate in the emerging renewables market as well.”

Ken Davenport, Chief Technology Officer with Chromatin Inc. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.