This organization, Growers for Biotechnology, was formed several years ago to support the use of biotechnology in wheat to improve quality, increase yields, and reduce production costs. We are proud of our role in reaching the place where the wheat industry is today and we proudly share this series of recent announcements about wheat research.
July is always an important month for the wheat industry in North America. Harvest is underway and moving North at a steady pace, elevators are filling up, and the markets are active. Farmers watch the sky and hope for just the right weather then breathe a sigh of relief as the last truck leaves the field. With this year's harvest safely in the bin, they immediately begin to plan next year's crop. Will they plant wheat next year or something else that might return a better profit?
This summer there is good news for wheat producers! Over the last few weeks there have been a series of announcements that both public and private organizations intend to make major investments in research to improve wheat varieties. Developing better varieties of wheat will certainly benefit producers, but it will also benefit flour millers and everyday consumers in everything they buy from bread to pasta and pastries.
The progress on new seed innovations really began in May with the announcement that organizations representing the wheat industry in the United States, Canada and Australia would jointly work toward the goal of synchronized commercialization of biotech traits in the wheat crop. This announcement was followed just a few days later by the announcement of the appointment of an interim director for a new research center to be built in Kansas that would focus on increased research on wheat, sorghum, and native plants. Interim director, Jim Gray, will oversee that a board of directors is put in place as the search for a permanent director is begun.
Other announcements from wheat seed stakeholders came in succession this summer:
In June, Dow AgroSciences announced an agreement with World Wide Wheat (W3) to increase research on improved wheat germplasm and traits.
This announcement was followed in July with an announcement from Monsanto that they had purchased WestBred of Bozeman, MT. The announcement stresses their recognition that wheat has not had the investment in technology of corn, soybeans, and cotton. Monsanto states in their press release, “We believe the combination of our technologies – like drought tolerance, herbicide and pest resistance, as well as improved-yield traits – and WestBred's breeding expertise in wheat can meaningfully address some of the productivity challenges facing this crop.” Michael Doane, from Monsanto, also wrote a good article explaining some of the reasons Monsanto thinks the time is right to revitalize their investment in wheat technology (link below).
Just one week later Bayer Crop Science also made an announcement that they had formed a long-term alliance with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia's national research organization, to work on wheat development, as well.
In addition to this recent activity in wheat community, Dave Henderson, the new president of the National Barley Growers Association, stated that one of his goals for his term of office is to facilitate both public and private biotech research on barley.
We look forward to the future of wheat and to our continuing role of educating policy makers and the public on the benefits of biotechnology in agriculture - Growers for Biotechnology
Wheat Groups Announce Goal of Synchronized Biotech Introduction in U.S., Canada and Australia - Washington, D.C. (May 14, 2009) - Organizations representing the wheat industry in the United States, Canada and Australia announced Thursday they will work toward the goal of synchronized commercialization of biotech traits in the wheat crop.
Noting that "none of us hold a veto over the actions of others," they agreed it was in the best interest of all three producer communities to introduce biotechnology in a coordinated fashion to minimize market disruption. http://www.wheatworld.org/html/news.cfm?ID=1604
Interim Director Appointed for Plant Innovation Center - The Kansas Bioscience Authority announced this week that they will fund the Kansas Innovation Center for Advanced Plant Design in the amount of $4 million for fiscal year 2010. The Innovation Center is a public and private collaboration between Kansas Wheat, Kansas State University, the University of Kansas and many private investors. The Center will use a unique, state-of the art technology platform to conduct wheat, sorghum and native plants research targeted to specific market needs in the areas of human health and nutrition, animal nutrition and health and biofuels/biomaterials. http://www.kswheat.com/news.php?id=279
Dow AgroSciences, World Wide Wheat Agree to Collaborate on Wheat - INDIANAPOLIS and PHOENIX, June 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW), and World Wide Wheat (W3) LLC of Phoenix, Arizona, announced today a collaboration agreement for the development and commercialization of advanced germplasm and traits in wheat.
The concept of the collaboration is to couple Dow AgroSciences' expertise in seeds and traits with W3's proprietary wheat germplasm and robust breeding capabilities. Dow AgroSciences' experience in seed and trait commercialization will be leveraged to bring the next generation of wheat to market. W3 brings more than 40 years of plant breeding to the collaboration and will be able to leverage Dow AgroSciences' reach in key global markets such as North America, Latin America, Europe and Australia.
Monsanto Invests in Wheat through WestBred Acquisition - Wheat is one of the world's most vital crops – yet it has suffered from a lack of investment in technology. As a result, the productivity of wheat acres continues to fall behind other major row crops like corn, soybeans and cotton.
Through our acquisition of WestBred, LLC, Monsanto sees an opportunity to bolster the sustainability of wheat by helping farmers improve yields and reduce input resources. We believe the combination of our technologies – like drought tolerance, herbicide and pest resistance, as well as improved-yield traits – and WestBred's breeding expertise in wheat can meaningfully address some of the productivity challenges facing this crop.
Bayer CropScience expands global R&D activities in seeds and traits by setting up new research focus area in cereals - Superior solutions for wheat farmers could be available as early as 2015. Bayer CropScience is expanding its global research and development activities in seeds and traits to include a focus on cereals. In support of this expansion, the company recently formalized a long-term alliance with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia's national research organization, which is one of the world's leading institutions in the development of new wheat varieties. http://www.press.bayercropscience.com/bcsweb/