Bayer CropScience opens wheat breeding station near Paris
click image to zoomOpening of the new wheat breeding station in France: Bernard Ravel, Site Manager (left), Rick Turner, Global Head of Wheat & Oilseeds at Bayer CropScience, and Frank Garnier, President of the Bayer Group in France. Bayer CropScience officially opened a new Wheat Breeding Station located in a major wheat growing region near Paris, France in the Parc Gâtinais between the valleys of Milly-la-Forêt and Maisse. About 250 guests and employees attended the event. This center is part of Bayer CropScience’s growing network of wheat breeding stations worldwide - located in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ukraine, USA, and now France.
The breeding-program at Milly-la-Forêt is focused on improving yields, addressing challenges with regard to water-use efficiency and heat tolerance, and improving resistance to wheat fungal diseases. Grain quality is another important criterion. The first commercial varieties from the breeding program at this station are expected by the end of the decade.
The station, with its 77 hectares of land and additional 110 hectares in leased property, as well as a greenhouse and a plant laboratory, employs 17 people and during seasonal peaks, up to 40 temporary employees. In September 2012, the site was purchased from the privately-owned French company RAGT Semences. Bayer CropScience will be investing more than EUR 7 million over three years in the site’s facilities. This is to double the capacity of the laboratory and the greenhouse.
Frank Garnier, President of Bayer Group in France, said at the opening ceremony: "The need for food will dramatically increase over the coming decades. We feel at Bayer CropScience it is our responsibility to heavily invest in innovation and to transform the wheat seed and trait market in a way which will also, for the future, enable French wheat producers to address this major challenge."
Rick Turner, Global Head of Wheat & Oilseeds at Bayer CropScience, added: "Bayer CropScience is committed to innovation in wheat, and we know progress comes from increasing genetic combinations and improved selection, which is why we are linking research to our breeding pipeline. But we cannot do it in just one market alone. The wheat breeding station at Milly-la-Forêt helps form a strong foundation of Bayer CropScience’s wheat breeding program worldwide. Milly, like our other stations, will use local expertise and well adapted germplasm to create varieties best suited to the local market."