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S&W expands Central Valley stevia footprintPosted 4/23/2012 by Central Valley Business Times
S&W expands Central Valley stevia footprint
April 23, 2012 7:18am
• Adds 156 acres near Los Banos
• To transfer plants from greenhouse this quarter
S&W Seed Company (NASDAQ: SANW) of Five Points is expanding its stevia growing operations.
The company says it has leased 156 acres of farmland near Los Banos and will dedicate all of it to stevia production.
Although S&W had said it planned to plant between 80 to 150 acres, the company on Monday says it has decided to plant above the high end of its previously announced acreage range because the successful propagation of several million plants in the company's greenhouse program made the increase feasible.
The company's newly leased farmland has been tilled and pre-irrigated in anticipation of planting, and, says the company, “has excellent soil conditions for growing stevia with access to ample water.”
It is approximately 20 miles from the company's first commercial field in Chowchilla. The company will plant what it believes are improved stevia varieties in the next 45 days.
"We are accelerating our stevia program. The decision to plant approximately 156 acres of stevia more than doubles our current stevia acreage,” says Mark Grewal, chief executive officer of S&W Seed Company. “We can meet the high end of our previous estimates due to the success we have had in replicating high quality stevia germplasm that will be utilized for planting. We expect to harvest stevia from this land for the four-year term of the lease. The initial investments being made today should provide a long-term payback as we obtain the traits and yields that we expect."
S&W is currently growing 114 acres of stevia in Chowchilla. The company conducted its initial test harvest last year and the company anticipates executing its second harvest on its first generation land during the summer of 2012.