Monsanto re-enters wheat

July 13, 2009 07:00 PM

Rachel Duff, Farm Journal Intern

Monsanto Company announced that they will be expanding their seeds and traits to include wheat and bought WestBred, LLC, which specializes in wheat germplasm, to re-enter the wheat market, says Carl Casale, executive vice president of strategy and operations for Monsanto. The company will be investing in new breeding and biotechnology, as well as creating a wheat development advisory board.
As part of Monsanto's plan to re-enter the wheat market, the company will be investing in technology to increase productivity of wheat to meet the increasing world demand for the crop, Casale says. Some of the technology will include traits to address drought and nitrogen utilization.
The initial focus of the company will be to leverage existing traits and technology into wheat, says Lee Quarles, external affairs for Monsanto. The time frame projected for Monsanto's first new trait for wheat is eight to ten years, using WestBred as the core for the wheat research.
Monsanto's plan for the wheat sector is long-term, he says.
Wheat is planted on more than 555 million acres worldwide, making it the largest crop planted by farmers in the world.

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