September 6, 2012

Bayer CropScience buys wheat breeding station in France

From the privately-owned company RAGT Semences S.A.S., Bayer CropScience has acquired a wheat breeding station in Milly-la Foret near Paris, France.


The station, situated within one of the key wheat regions in France, comprises approximately 77 hectares of land and an additional 100 hectares in leased property as well as greenhouses and laboratories. The station is part of the Bayer CropScience Wheat Breeding Stations. Financial details were not shared.

Bayer CropScience is building a leading global wheat breeding programme through selecting for outstanding agronomic properties in a broad pool of local and global breeding materials.


"We are focused on increasing yields in wheat and adapting new varieties to existing environmental challenges," said Mathias Kremer, Head of the BioScience business unit at Bayer CropScience. "This new breeding station in France will enable us to deliver solutions to wheat farmers more rapidly by tapping into our global network of experts, tools like molecular breeding as well as working closely with local partners and farmers."

Breeders are also developing new varieties with improved tolerance to abiotic stresses like drought and heat as well as with an improved resistance to fungal diseases. Another important criterion is the grain quality. The introduction of Bayer's first wheat varieties in France is expected by the end of the decade.

About 25% of the world's arable land is planted with wheat, making it the most widely grown staple food crop. Wheat ranks second behind corn in terms of cereals production, with more than 650 million tonnes grown yearly. However wheat productivity is growing at a rate of less than 1% annually, while the global demand is increasing twice as fast. The main wheat-producing regions are the EU, China, North America, Russia and Australia. France is the leading wheat producer in Europe.

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, the subgroup of Bayer AG responsible for the agricultural business, has annual sales of EUR7.255 billion in 2011 (US$9.1 billion) and is one of the world's leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control. The company offers products including high value seeds, innovative crop protection solutions based on chemical and biological modes of action as well as an extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture.

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