Performance Plants Inc. (PPI) and Bayer CropScience (Bayer) have entered into their third license agreement giving Bayer evaluation and commercial rights for PPI's Heat & Drought Tolerance Technology (HDT) in wheat. This technology has the potential to preserve yield by enhancing plants’ tolerance to heat, drought or combined stresses.

Performance Plants technologies target different key mechanisms such as heat and drought tolerance, water use efficiency, seed yield improvement, and biomass enhancement. Due to this diverse range, PPI’s biotech traits can be combined or stacked into a single plant variety for genetic and agronomic improvements of all staple crops. PPI identifies and utilizes the plant's own native genes to increase crop yield.

In 2009, Bayer licensed PPI’s Yield Protection Technology (YPT) for evaluation in cotton. YPT offers protection against yield losses sustained under suboptimal rainfall or where irrigation is deployed without yield drag. This was followed by licensing HDT technology for evaluation and commercialization in cotton in 2011.

“This agreement with PPI enables us to extend our collaboration into wheat and we look forward to developing the potential of this technology,” said Steve Patterson, responsible for Cereals Crop Management at Bayer CropScience. “We continue to invest in bringing new wheat seed varieties to market which addresses both the environmental challenges of production and the opportunity for new levels of yield. Bayer CropScience is very aware of the challenges being faced by farmers today in their desire to increase wheat yields and meet the needs of the future market. As a consequence, it is our intention to use the full range of technologies in both breeding and trait development to bring higher yielding wheat varieties to the market and then adapt these to the local market needs.”

“We are excited to be extending our collaboration with Bayer CropScience to develop new varieties of high-yielding wheat,” said Yafan Huang, Ph.D., president and chief scientific officer of Performance Plants. “Wheat is grown in temperate climate and its yield is highly sensitive to adverse environmental conditions such as drought and heat. Working with Bayer, we hope to be the first to provide effective solutions for farmers to increase the productivity of this key staple crop.”

About 25 percent of the world's arable land is planted with wheat, making it the most widely grown crop and one of the world's most important staple foods. Wheat ranks second behind corn in terms of cereals production, with more than 650 million tons grown yearly. 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.