Visit Date: Monday 28th March 2016
Location: Nuseed California HQ, Woodland, Sacramento, California
Nuseed, a global seed company that is dedicated to enhancing food and feed value through innovation and attention to detail. Spending an hour with Keith Wehri, Nuseed’s global supply chain and operations lead, we learned about Sunflower genetics, sorghum hybrids and why the Sacramento Valley is an ideal seed breeding ground.
Sorghum holds incredible potential as a valuable feed and in its ability as a source of fuel. It is an annual grass that is extremely drought tolerant, and therefore an excellent choice for arid and dry climates. We learned that US researchers are rediscovering the importance of sorghum as a worthwhile rotational crop and forage that can help California meet its future water needs, specialty food markets, and potentially as an important renewable fuel crop.
Nuseed are focusing on creating advanced hybrids that produce better flour for human food and to deliver more nutritional value to livestock. There hybrids are focused around herbicide tolerance for better, more environmental friendly weed control and to exhibit excellent disease resistance.
Nuseed currently operate breeding programs in both Minnesota and California in the US. With their diverse germplasm stocks and unique genetics, they are able to create superior hybrids that are suited to a range of growing conditions.
We learned that the Sacramento Valley (the northern part of the Central Valley) in California is an ideal location for the production of hybrid sunflower seeds, climate being the key factor. Whilst no growing environment is totally risk free, this part of California, is the sweet spot, and here is why;
- Daytime temperatures are warm to hot, with the ground cooled at night by ocean air flowing in from San Francisco Bay
- Rainfall is almost negligible during the spring, summer and autumn. All of the seed production fields are irrigated, so plants seldom are stressed from little or too much moisture.
- Plant diseases that may plague other sunflower production areas are virtually non-existent in the Sacramento Valley due to lack of rain and low daytime humidity.
Nuseed are is the process of releasing new seed products that applied across the sunflower spectrum, which included seeds carrying herbicide tolerant traits, dehull varieties and seeds with high oleic oil content.
This was a great visit, it was clear that Nuseed are a company driven to innovate. Sorghum, Sunflowers and Sunshine – the Sacramento Valley in California continues to prove its worth as a diverse agricultural powerhouse.