S and w Seed Co  (SANW)
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S and w Seed Co Segments


Business Segments II. Quarter
(in millions $)
(Dec 31 2020)
(of total Revenues)
II. Quarter
(in millions $)
(Dec 31 2020)
(Profit Margin)
15.05 100 % -8.40 -

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Growth rates by Segment II. Quarter
Y/Y Revenue
(Dec 31 2020)
Q/Q Revenue
II. Quarter
Y/Y Income
(Dec 31 2020)
Q/Q Income
22.64 % 8.63 % - -

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  S And W Seed Co's

Business Segments Description

Fall Dormancy Ratings of Our Varieties

Fall dormancy is a key characteristic that can vary among alfalfa varieties. Fall Dormancy (FD) ratings are assigned to varieties based on their performance in standardized tests for the onset of dormancy in the fall. Standard check varieties span an FD rating continuum from FD 1 to FD 11, where the onset of dormancy is measured as fall height relative to standard check varieties. FD1 represents the earliest onset of fall dormancy, whereas FD 11 represents a completely non-dormant growth habit. Early FD ratings are generally most suited to cold winter climates where plants must cease fall growth early allowing individual plants to survive cold winters and frozen soils conditions for lengthy periods. FD 2 and FD 3 ratings are typically associated with early onset fall dormancy, when grown in the upper Midwest for example. FD 9 and FD 10 ratings are typically non-dormant, are characterized as having relatively little slowdown in fall growth and are more suited for continuing forage yield production and improved yield potential in warm winter climates where soils do not freeze.

Our current commercial product line-up includes alfalfa seed varieties that span from FD 3 (our earliest onset of fall-dormancy) to FD 10 (our most non-dormant, most winter active). The legacy S&W product development efforts were focused on FD 8, FD 9 and FD 10, with some breeding effort devoted to FD 4, FD 6 and FD7.

S&W Varieties

S&W varieties are all bred and developed to meet the guidelines for certification by the National Alfalfa Variety Review Board and/or the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies.

In February 2012, we announced the certification of our first proprietary dormant alfalfa seed variety, which was specifically bred to thrive in high altitude and cooler climates. In August 2012, we purchased the rights to a portfolio of alfalfa varieties suited for higher elevations and colder climate conditions, marking our commitment to expand more aggressively into the dormant variety market. The colder climate or higher elevation varieties that we acquired are in the range of FD 3, FD 4 and FD 5. In December 2014, we acquired from DuPont Pioneer one of the alfalfa industry's largest portfolios of dormant alfalfa germplasm, along with their active breeding program. The Pioneer breeding program amassed a significant germplasm base that spans from FD 3 through FD 9. The primary focus of the Pioneer breeding program was FD 4 and FD 5 for the North America market. These acquisitions of dormant germplasm significantly expand the range of geographic and climatic growing regions where we can offer adapted varieties.

Our non-dormant varieties (FD 8, FD 9 and FD 10) still represent a large proportion of our business and are best suited to hot, arid climates. Our salt tolerant non-dormant varieties do well in salty irrigation waters and salty soils. Our leading non-dormant varieties include SW 10, SW 9720, SW 9215, SW 9628, and SW 8421S.

Of these varieties, SW 9720, SW 9215 and SW 8421S are bred to perform very well in highly saline conditions that would stunt or kill ordinary alfalfa.

Our FD 3, FD 4 and FD 5 S&W varieties are adapted to the winter-hardy intermountain west and the northern half of the United States and Canada. These include Rhino, SW4328, and SW5909. Some of these varieties are derived from the DuPont Pioneer germplasm base for commercial introduction as S&W brand varieties. Other dormant varieties from the DuPont Pioneer germplasm have been selected as potential varieties for licensing to third party brands. Our breeding and genetics experts continue the multi-year process of developing improved varieties over much of the dormancy spectrum, but concentrating primarily on high salt- and heat-tolerant, non-dormant alfalfa seed, where we have established ourselves as a leading provider. We also create blends of seed varieties.

IVS Varieties

IVS markets both common and certified alfalfa seeds, sourced from growers located in the Imperial Valley of Southeast California. Portions of the alfalfa seed sold by IVS in fiscal 2016 and 2015 were common varieties (i.e., uncertified seed) while the balance consisted of certified CUF (a public variety) and proprietary varieties. The primary proprietary varieties we acquired in the IVS acquisition are LaJolla, Catalina and Saltana. Because GMO alfalfa is not permitted in the Imperial Valley, we are able to rely upon the seed grown in the Imperial Valley, along with seed grown in Australia, to supply customers in regions such as the Middle East and Europe, where GMO products are strictly prohibited.

SGI Varieties

SGI has developed well-known proprietary varieties of alfalfa, such as SuperSonic, SuperNova, SuperStar, SuperCharge, SuperAurora, SuperSequel and SuperSiriver. Since 2002, the varieties developed by SGI have attracted an expanding grower base, and in 2016, SGI accounted for more than 60% of the total Australian certified proprietary alfalfa seed production. SGI's alfalfa seed varieties are bred to resist disease, exhibit persistence in the field and produce higher yields of both the alfalfa hay forage and alfalfa seed production for our seed growers. SGI's proprietary varieties exhibit superior seed yield capability compared to traditional non-proprietary alfalfa varieties in Australia, with the most recent varieties showing the highest seed yields. Forage yields of the older SGI proprietary varieties are at least equivalent to traditional non-proprietary varieties, and the forage yields of the more recent SGI varieties are even better. All of SGI's proprietary alfalfa varieties, excluding SuperAurora, have FD ratings of 8-9 and therefore achieve optimum growth and forage production in Mediterranean to desert climates.

SGI's breeding program includes a number of initiatives addressing semi-dormant and highly non-dormant alfalfa varieties and tropical alfalfa seed varieties.

Additionally, SGI has a breeding and production platform of proprietary white clover varieties, including SuperHuia, SuperLadino, SuperHaifa and SuperHaifa II. In fiscal 2016, clover sales represented approximately 6% of SGI's total seed sales and a nominal amount of our total consolidated sales. SGI's white clover varieties are used for forage and ornamentation.

Genetically Modified Organism Alfalfa

Currently, Europe, the Middle East and certain other parts of the world prohibit the sale of genetically modified organism (GMO) alfalfa. Therefore, historically, we have not employed genetic engineering in the breeding of our current commercial seed varieties for these markets, and consequently, we have products that can be sold throughout the world. As a result of the January 2011 deregulation by the USDA of Roundup Ready® alfalfa, a GMO product, Roundup Ready® alfalfa is currently being grown in the United States without any federal or state regulations governing field isolation and other protections.

Collaborative stewardship programs have been developed to facilitate the coexistence of GMO and non-GMO seed. For example, in 2010, the AOSCA launched its Alfalfa Seed Stewardship Program (the "ASSP"). The ASSP is a voluntary, fee-based certification program for the production of alfalfa seed to be sold into markets that prohibit the sale of GMO alfalfa. ASSP certification of seed fields includes testing for GMO material and observance of a minimum stated isolation distance of five miles from any GMO alfalfa seed production field. Also in 2010, the California Crop Improvement Association (the "CCIA") developed a web-based alfalfa seed field isolation "pinning" map for alfalfa seed production in the Western U.S. This map is intended to pin both GMO and non-GMO seed fields. Although beneficial to growers and customers alike, these stewardship programs do not afford legal protection to non-GMO growers.

We continue to evaluate our options with respect to incorporating biotechnology into our alfalfa seed traits and the resulting impact on our business strategy and operations. In April 2013, we entered into a license agreement with FGI to develop and commercialize seed varieties that incorporate proprietary traits, including the Roundup Ready® trait. This agreement further documented and formalized our previously announced collaboration with FGI and Monsanto to develop genetically modified versions of certain of our proprietary alfalfa varieties. This development of biotech seed varieties consists of several phases including lab work and field trials to confirm agronomic performance and trait efficiency of each developed variety. Upon completion of the field trials and demonstration of minimum performance standards, we may elect to commercialize the variety and enter into a variety-specific license agreement with FGI pursuant to which we would pay certain royalties and access fees.

In connection with the DuPont Pioneer acquisition, we only acquired conventional alfalfa varieties. However, the parties agreed to the terms of a second asset purchase agreement relating to the purchase of DuPont Pioneer's GMO alfalfa assets, to be entered into under certain circumstances: Assuming FGI provides its required consent to this transaction prior to November 30, 2017, and subject to the satisfaction of certain other specified conditions, either we or DuPont Pioneer have the right to enter into (and require the other party to enter into) the second asset purchase agreement on or before December 29, 2017, pursuant to which we would acquire DuPont Pioneer's GMO germplasm varieties and other related assets for a purchase price of $7,000,000. There is no assurance that we will purchase the DuPont Pioneer GMO assets, however, we are actively working to satisfy the requisite conditions and are hopeful that the purchase will be consummated.


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