Bayer CropScience is expanding its global R&D activities in seeds and traits to include a focus on cereals. In support of this expansion, the company recently formalised a long-term alliance with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national research organization, which is one of the world’s leading institutions in the development of new wheat varieties.
The agreement establishes a far-reaching joint R&D program between CSIRO and Bayer CropScience, aimed at improving the productivity and sustainability of cereal production utilizing modern techniques. The cooperation will broaden the strong R&D basis of Bayer CropScience’s seeds and traits business, which is currently focused on cotton, canola, rice and vegetables. The company also offers innovative trait solutions for the soybean and corn seed industry.
Bayer CropScience has a global market leadership position in crop protection solutions for cereals that combat plant diseases, pests and weeds, and regulate plant growth. The company now intends to further complete its portfolio by developing improved plant characteristics for wheat. With about 25% of the global agricultural land under wheat cultivation, it is the largest cereal crop in terms of acreage and one of the world’s most important staple foods.
Both parties will set up a number of R&D projects in the area of traits and their introgression into cereal germplasm, the goal being to develop cereal varieties with higher yield, more efficient nutrient utilization and tolerance against abiotic stress such as drought. One of the initial projects of this collaboration is dedicated to the development of wheat lines with improved yield potential and stress tolerance, while another focuses on wheat lines with improved utilization of phosphorus. These and other research projects are expected to result in new varieties available to farmers from 2015 onwards.
Source: Bayer CropScience
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