SG Biofuels today announced it has signed customers for the deployment of 250,000 acres of Jatropha using its JMax hybrid seeds. Jatropha is a non-edible energy crop that produces large volumes of sustainable plant oil used for biodiesel, bio jet fuel and specialty chemicals. The JMax hybrid seeds on average provide double the yield of existing commercial varieties planted in similar conditions, resulting in greater uniformity and vigor while significantly reducing seed handling and deployment costs.
"Energy companies, governments and growers are recognizing that we have entered a new era for Jatropha based on the time-honored principals of crop science, breeding, biotechnology and proper agronomics," said Kirk Haney, president and chief executive officer. "In addition to our signed customers, we have a large global pipeline totaling more than 1 million acres of planned Jatropha projects worldwide."
The company is adding to its Jatropha crop improvement network by deploying JMax development centers in multiple locations around the world where SG Biofuels will optimize elite hybrid varieties of Jatropha that are well adapted to the specific growing conditions of its customers. The centers feature hybrid material from the company's germplasm library totaling more than 12,000 unique genotypes.
"Following four years of advancements, we are now able to produce high quality, elite hybrid seeds of Jatropha that far surpass the productivity and profitability of unimproved varieties," said Miguel Motta, vice president of marketing and strategy. "Hybrid seed technology is resonating with customers because they are assured higher, more consistent yields and an economic model that truly scales."
Hybrid seed production is considered superior to other mass propagation techniques because of lower costs and improved plant performance. Hybrid seeds have historically been responsible for significant increases in agricultural production and profitability. Since the introduction of hybrid corn in the 1940's, along with improved agronomic practices, the average U.S. bushel per acre has increased by more than 400 percent from 30 to approximately 140.
Through its growing network of JMax centers, SG Biofuels continues to expand the regions for which JMax hybrid seeds are available.