Cargill and Bayer CropScience are working together on a new line of InVigor canola hybrids with a specialty oil trait. They will have a number of varieties up for recommendation at registration meetings in February 2007 and test plots will run across western Canada next summer.
Commercial seed for the first of these high-oleic
low-linolenic hybrids should be available in 2008. “We were watching the
emerging market segment for special oils and wanted to be part of it,” says
Garth Hodges, general manager of canola for Bayer CropScience, in Calgary. “We had the
technology, but we needed the traits and the knowledge of markets.” Cargill
had what Bayer
Cargill also has a lot to gain from the deal. Cargill has interests
all through the food chain, supplying vegetable oils to various major food
processors and restaurant chains. Given the popularity of InVigor hybrids in
western Canada, the agreement with Bayer helps Cargill Specialty Canola Oils to
assure a good supply of oil.
Specialty oil varieties accounted for about
10% of canola acres in 2006. Alan Willits, president of Cargill Specialty Canola
Oils, will not speculate on acres for 2007 except to say that underlying demand
is increasing. “Future growth of specialty canola oil markets will depend on
what customers need. This is not an end-use push on Cargill’s part. Our job is
to understand our customers and segment our supplies appropriately,” he
The deal with Bayer does not end Cargill’s own canola breeding
program. The company will continue to develop its Victory hybrids, which target
the large Roundup Ready segment of the business.
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