Bayer CropScience has acquired a Wheat Breeding Station in Milly-la Foret near Paris, France, from the privately-owned company RAGT Semences S.A.S. 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 program 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 Dr. 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.
Wheat is the world's oldest and most widely grown crop
Twenty-five percent 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 tons grown yearly. However wheat productivity is growing at a rate of less than one percent 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.