July 20, 2015
Monsanto opens US wheat technology centre
Monsanto held its grand opening of its expanded Wheat Technology Center in Filer, Idaho, which will serve as the company's core US wheat breeding R&D facility.
The Wheat Technology Center expansion includes a facility for wheat seed cleaning, trial preparation and seed storage, as well as two new greenhouse facilities with an additional 1,300 square metres of growing space and enhanced laboratory space.
"The Wheat Technology Center gathers some of the nation's top wheat researchers to maximise sharing and collaboration," said Kristin Schneider, Monsanto's global wheat breeding lead. "From a breeding perspective, this will help us respond more quickly and efficiently to some of the challenges wheat growers face on their farms."
Monsanto's wheat programme breeds and commercialises varieties in the major classes of wheat and has a network of hundreds of seed suppliers. In addition to a broad presence with its licensed WestBred Wheat brand in the West, Monsanto also licenses varieties to seed companies in the eastern United States. Schneider said increasing breeding efficiency will help bring wheat varieties to market with potential for increased genetic gain.
At the opening ceremony, Idaho Lieutenant Governor Brad Little and other Idaho officials were joined by academic experts and representatives from various wheat organisations. Dr. Robb Fraley, Monsanto's executive vice president and chief technology officer, said collaboration throughout the industry will be needed to bring forward new technologies in wheat.
"Monsanto is committed to bringing innovations to wheat farmers, and we strive to do this in a way that helps farmers have better harvests while continuing to use resources like water, nutrients and land more efficiently," said Fraley. "There are great opportunities that come with driving innovation in wheat, and the opening of the Wheat Technology Center is an example of our continued commitment to the industry."