Limagrain Cereal Seeds (LCS) is set to increase its seed portfolio by an unprecedented six new lines of hard red spring wheat.

Blake Cooper, Ph.D., Limagrain’s senior wheat breeder for hard red spring wheat, said the number is far above the norm.

“Normally, in a program our size, you’d have maybe two new lines a year,” he said. “Part of it is getting our program really brought up to speed, and the other part is we have some seed from international partners that seemed to be a superb fit for us.”

Cooper said the new lines don’t have names as yet and are still in the experimental phase of their development as seed stock.

Cooper said the seed lines will be increased “as fast as we can because they all have merit.”
“Next year, we hope to have more seed stocks to do more on-farm testing,” he said. “We’re increasing the seed as fast as we can to increase seed stock and next year get it into strip lots as well as replicated, small research plots.”

Cooper said the new seed varieties will be grown in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and perhaps Montana, Idaho and Washington.

“Our primary target is the Dakotas and the upper Midwest,” he said.

Cooper said the lines are proving themselves to be tough enough to handle wide variations of climate conditions.

“These lines are actually quite interesting,” he said. “Last year, 2011, the upper Midwest was exceedingly wet, and this year was quite dry although not quite a drought.

“The good thing about these lines is they perform well in a wet year, and this year there was enough early moisture to carry them through. So that bodes well for them in the long-term if they can handle both extremes,” Cooper remarked.

"LCS has aggressive growth plans in the U.S.," said Frank Curtis, Limagrain’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, “these increases will help us impact the market and give farmers greater choice in high-quality wheat seed.”

Group Limagrain was founded in France in 1942. The farmer-owned company has 7,000 employees and is the largest seed company in the European Union. Fort Collins, Colo., serves as the North America headquartters of Limagrain Cereals Seeds. The company has regional research stations in Washington, Indiana, Minnesota and Kansas.