Expanded Sesame Opportunities in Texas

Sesame is a drought tolerant, heat tolerant crop with relatively few pests—either insects or plant diseases—compared to other Texas crops.


For 2022 there are new contract opportunities among multiple groups. All offer variety choices for indehiscent (non-shattering) varieties developed for large-scale mechanical harvest farming operations.  Non-shattering sesame would better be called reduced shattering types.  Some seed losses at the header/cutter bar occur.  But this is part of sesame production and is acceptable.  Combine operators can minimize these losses.


This is in sharp contrast to sesame in other world regions where much sesame is harvested by hand (“shocked”).  This keeps the plants standing upright to avoid seed losses from widely open capsule.  Despite that harvest method in most of the world, sesame is the #4 oilseed crop in world production.


Fig. 1.  A recent Sesaco sesame field near Lubbock on 40” rows and furrow irrigation.


Sesame and Crop Insurance


Sesame has a federal crop insurance program.  It is approved for about 90 counties in Texas and Oklahoma.  Visit with your crop insurance agent.  If sesame is not listed for your county, you likely can get a letter for a written agreement.  I can help you with the letter if needed for many other Texas counties if sesame is approved for a nearby county, especially if bordering the county you would farm sesame.


What about wild hogs and sesame?


Numerous individuals including farmers, Sesaco staff, and former Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agronomists Mr. Charles Stichler (Uvalde) and Dr. David Drake (San Angelo) note wild hogs do not appear to cause major issues with sesame stands and harvest.  Wild hogs may be in the field, but damage is low.  Wild hogs are not an issue to avoid sesame.


Contractor Options and Contacts for 2022


All sesame in Texas is grown by contract.  This is important.  It preserves your privilege to grow and market sesame.  Growers without a contract may not have access to seed.  Secondly, there is not a cash market per se.  Thus, without a contract you do not have any commitment from a buyer for a crop.  The three contractors below may not need your crop, or will pay less than market value.  Furthermore, you may not have grown a variety the contractor even wants.


To my knowledge contract prices for sesame in 2022 are the highest they have ever been.


Sesaco Corporation


Sesaco (http://www.sesaco.com) has offered Texas growers for more than 20 years.  Compared to then today’s Sesaco sesame varieties are a slightly shorter in maturity.


Sesaco is recently quoting $0.55/lb. with potential for premiums based on clean grain, low trash, low cracks, etc.


  • The lead Sesaco production manager is Jared Johnson, jjohnson@sesaco.com, (405) 531-7840.  You can find the five regional reps for contract and grower inquiries—e-mail & cell phone contacts at https://sesaco.com/production-team  Ask for additional Sesaco sesame production resources.
  • Sesaco research team, including general manager and also weed control expert (Dr. Connor Ferguson), https://sesaco.com/research-team
  • In addition to their Austin headquarters, Sesaco has grain processing in Hobart, OK and owns a tahini manufacturing facility in Taylor, Michigan.
  • Delivery locations in recent years included:  Texas–Lower Rio Grande Valley, Knippa, Tynan, Miles, Stamford; Oklahoma—Hobart & Frederick.
  • Sesaco has their own breeding program.  Acreage has exceeded 80,000 in recent years.


Equi-nom Seed & Participating Contractors/Grain Handlers


Equi-nom is a breeding and genetics company based in Israel.  They have tested their non-shattering genetics in Texas since 2017 for both commercial varieties and breeding nurseries in the Lubbock and Uvalde areas.  Limited commercial production began in 2018 in the Texas High Plains.


Equi-nom works with interested elevators and contractors for purchase and delivery of contracted grain using Equi-nom varieties.  Pricing for 2022 is $0.55/lb.  Current elevator contractors include Garcia Grain, McAllen/Texas Lower Rio Grande Valley, and field delivery (Octavio Garcia, (956) 279-6207).  Several southwest and central Oklahoma buying/delivery points include Apache, Hennessy, Goltry, Kingfisher, and Kremlin with field delivery also a likely option.  Contact Joe Guzman (below) for other possible options in development.


Field observations of Equi-nom lines show that individual nodes on the stalk often produce two and even three flowers hence capsules per node, instead of one.  So, the yield potential looks promising.

Fig. 2.  Multiple capsules per node of a commercial Equi-nom sesame variety, Lubbock.






Sesajal has expanded their operations from Mexico to the southern U.S with headquarters in San Diego, Calif.  They are offering $0.56/lb. for 2022


  • Field contact is agronomist Fernando Garcia, San Antonio, TX, fernando.garcia@sesajal.com, (210) 306-0998
  • Initial Texas contracting in 2021.  Sesajal is looking also to partner with an interested Texas farmer to set up a large-scale demonstration farm.
  • Inquire on delivery locations and options.  Delivery on the turnrow is available.
  • Sesajal has a sesame storage and processing facility under construction at Hondo, Texas (west of San Antonio, TX).  It will be operational by summer 2022.


Additional Contract Considerations


  • Are these contracts waived if you have storm or drought losses?  For lesser acreage crops like sesame they usually are (‘act of nature’).
  • Is the price the same for dryland and irrigated acres?
  • Usually there are small premiums (rather than discounts) for good color, low broken seed, clean grain, etc.
  • Are there provisions or prohibitions in using glyphosate (Roundup) as a harvest aid (more common in South Texas)??


Some Sesame Basics


Here are some key considerations for sesame production in Texas.


  • Sesame is not for your weedy ground.  There are labels for yellow herbicides (Treflan, Sonalan, Prowl) and grasses after emergence.  There is an “indemnified” label from Syngenta for use of Dual Magnum (s-metolachlor) where the farmer agrees to accept all risk (rates are lower than other crops).  Starting clean is important as sesame is not competitive with weeds for the first five weeks or so after emergence.
  • Growers report that sesame is sensitive to glyphosate and 2,4-D drift and especially to dicamba.
  • Nitrogen fertility should not be neglected for a sesame crop.
  • Sesame is suitable for dryland production in Texas in lower rainfall areas like the High Plains, Rolling Plains, Concho Valley, and Lower Rio Grande Valley.  When irrigated modest amounts of irrigation up to 8” can be an economic ‘sweet spot’ for production.
  • Sesame is harvested with conventional headers and grain combines.  Plan on some time to help get your settings optimized and learn how to best get the crop fed onto the header.  Contractors recognize that helping growers set their combines properly the first time you ever harvest sesame is important for ensuring grower success and optimizing the quality of the crop delivered (little trash, minimal seed breakage).


For further information see the Texas A&M AgriLife sesame primer online  https://lubbock.tamu.edu/sesame/ and consult your contractor.  The information there is primarily for the Texas Rolling & High Plains, Southwest Oklahoma, and some for the Corpus Christi coastal region.

Dr. Calvin Trostle, Extension Agronomy, TAMU Dept. of Soil & Crop Sciences, Lubbock, 806-746-6101, ctrostle@ag.tamu.edu


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