Monsanto Company announced on 16 June that it is selling its US sorghum production assets to a subsidiary of Remington Holding Company, its first spin-off of an entire crop segment since the sale of its sunflowerseeds unit to Syngenta in 2009.

It will also take its sorghum breeding business into a joint venture with Remington. Monsanto will own a 40% stake in the venture, called Innovative Seed Solutions, and Remington the remaining 60%.

The companies have valued these transactions at approximately US$169.5M with a total cash payment of US$110.5M by Remington.

“We recognize that our sorghum business has great potential to expand and grow both domestically and internationally,” said Mike Frank, vice president and CEO of Monsanto. “We believe by partnering with Remington in the joint venture, we can bring an increased level of focus, investment and resources into this crop space.”

Sorghum is one of the top five cereal crops in the world and can be grown as a grain, forage or sweet crop. Sweet sorghum has potential use as an ethanol feedstock and the USA is the world's largest producer of grain sorghum, producing 597M bushels in 2015.

Monsanto said it would continue to sell sorghum seeds via its Asgrow, Dekalb and Channel seed brands and through regional seed dealer networks.

Remington is the parent company of a seed production provider.

■Monsanto announced on 27 June that it had signed a licensing agreement in which DuPont Pioneer will receive a royalty-bearing license for its Intacta RR2 PRO insect technology in Brazil.

The license is subject to review and prior approval by Brazilian regulatory authorities and DuPont said it was aiming to bring the technology to Brazilian growers as early as the 2017 selling season.

Intacta RR2 PRO soyabeans have become one of the cornerstone products in Monsanto's next-generation soyabean platform. These soyabeans have been genetically engineered to resist pests and glyphosate herbicide and to have increased yield potential.