Energy crop company Ceres Inc. reduced its loss in the first fiscal quarter, despite a dramatic decline in product sales, the company said Thursday.

The Thousand Oaks agricultural biotech reported a net loss of $6.9 million (-28 cents a share) in the quarter ended Nov.30, compared with a net loss $7.5 million (-$3.73) in the same period a year earlier, prior to its February 2012 initial public offering.

Sales fell to $14,000 from $276,000. However, total revenue grew by $200,000 to $2 million due to rising government grant funding.

The company develops and sells a sweet sorghum seed technology for crop production that is used by energy companies to ferment into ethanol. The firm has partnered with 31 ethanol mills in Brazil for seed sales and crop management services for the current growing season.

“It is still early in the growing season, but the weather has been cooperating and the crop appears to be off to a good start,” said Chief Executive Richard Hamilton, in a statement.

Ceres issued 5 million shares and raised $65 million in its Feb. 22 IPO. Shares rose to $14.80 on the first day of trading but have since slumped.

Shares gained 15 cents, or more than 3 percent, to close at $4.72 on the Nasdaq.