Monday, July 30, 2012

Bayer CropScience, CSIRO and GRDC Form Research Partnership for Increasing Yield in Wheat

Working with leading global institutions to improve Australian agricultural productivity

Monheim, July 30, 2012 – Bayer CropScience, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Australian Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) have formed a partnership to increase yield in wheat. Through genetic modification, CSIRO has developed wheat that produces significantly more grain. Bayer CropScience and CSIRO aim to further develop this technology, cultivating ideas and answers to bring about new solutions to farmer`s needs. Financial details of the collaboration were not released.

The partnership builds on the discovery by CSIRO of a gene technology that enables up to 30 percent increase of wheat yield in glasshouse trials. The GRDC and CSIRO provided initial research funding and Bayer CropScience will now join them to support the next stage of development.

“We are committed to pursuing innovation in wheat varieties that will lead to increased productivity and meet the need for sustainable solutions for wheat production on a global scale, for example by increasing yields, increasing nutrient use efficiency and making plants more tolerant to stressful growing conditions such as drought or heat,” said Mathias Kremer, Head of the BioScience business unit at Bayer CropScience. 

“This is a complex scientific challenge and a long road for development, which we believe will benefit from partnerships with some of the best innovators in the world and make use of all the tools available to help wheat farmers access these significant gains sooner,” Kremer added. Bayer CropScience follows industry best practices in the development and commercialization of plant biotech products, including GM wheat, in consultation with key stakeholders and regulatory requirements around the world.

“With this technology, we see more vigorous wheat with increased vegetative growth, larger seed heads, and larger seed,” said Dr Bruce Lee, Director of CSIRO’s Food Futures Flagship. “If we can achieve significant yield increases in the field, this will have a major impact on food production on a global scale.”

John Harvey, GRDC Managing Director, said that improving crop yield will benefit grain growers. “Increasing wheat yields under the water limited environments that Australian growers face is a significant driver for GRDC investments. This yield technology is an exciting discovery that could lead to a significant impact on wheat productivity.”

All CSIRO research involving gene technology is performed according to Australian legislation including regulations set out by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR).

Wheat – one of the world's most important staple foods
With a total global production of over 650 million tonnes of wheat per annum, wheat is one of the most important food crops needed to support the global population. The continuing rapid increase in the world’s population, predicted to reach 9 billion by 2050, will put pressure on existing food systems to produce more, so increasing yield in crops like wheat is a crucial step forwards.

Bayer is the global market and innovation leader in crop protection products for cereals and is pursuing long-term investment in sustainable cereals production. Thanks to its presence in all relevant markets and countries and as a result of the constant introduction of new products for agriculture, the company occupies an outstanding position in the crop protection market for wheat. Moreover, Bayer CropScience aims to establish a globally leading wheat seed business based on a broad pool of breeding material and local varieties and focusing on outstanding agronomic properties.

About Bayer CropScience
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, a subgroup of Bayer AG with annual sales of EUR 7.255 billion (2011), is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and traits. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of 21,000 and is represented in more than 120 countries. This and further news is available at: www.press.bayercropscience.com.

About CSIRO
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is Australia's national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world. CSIRO is enhancing Australia’s food production systems through an integrated ‘farm-to-fork’ approach. CSIRO is delivering science to enable increased productivity and efficiencies at the farm level, improving the quality and yield of Australian crops, developing innovative food processing technologies, creating new value-added foods, and developing the nation’s livestock, aquaculture and fishery industries.
www.csiro.au

About GRDC
The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is one of the world's leading grains research, development and extension (RD&E) organisations. GRDC invests in RD&E to provide growers with vital information, knowledge and resources to support effective competition by Australian grain growers in global grain markets, through enhanced profitability and sustainability. The GRDC’s investment in farming practices, plant varieties, and new products has helped position Australia’s growers as the best in the world. www.grdc.com.au

Contacts:

Bayer CropScience: Utz Klages, Tel. +49 2173 38-3125
E-Mail: utz.klages@bayer.com

CSIRO: Rachel Fitzgerald, Tel. +61 477 314-871
E-Mail: rachel.fitzgerald@csiro.au 

GRDC: Kylie Dunstan, Tel. +61 438 630-491 
E-Mail: kylie.dunstan@grdc.com.au

Forward-Looking Statements 
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

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