ST. LOUIS -- Monsanto Company last week reported on what it called a remarkable year in research-and-development advancements, highlighting progress across both its biotechnology and breeding platforms.

The company's announcement came as part of its first-quarter 2007 fiscal year conference call.

Monsanto reported on seven specific projects in the R&D pipeline that either advanced from one phase to the next or were added to the pipeline. The update also highlighted the company's three High Impact Technology projects.

"In the last two years, there has been positive movement in 70 percent of the projects in the pipeline," said Robert T. Fraley, chief technology officer and executive vice president for Monsanto. "Of that advancement, almost half are from additions to the pipeline, reflecting the strength of our discovery engine and our collaborative efforts."

Fraley's presentation was focused on the combined benefits of biotechnology and breeding, emphasizing the fact that both platforms drive plant science innovation.

"As excited as we are about the biotech pipeline, we understand that our success rides on the combination of biotechnology and breeding," Fraley said. "We've put a lot of emphasis on making sure that -- before we ever look to biotechnology -- we have the best, highest yielding seed possible so farmers can start each season strong."

Backed by the company's breeding prowess, Monsanto's national seed brands continue to offer farmers higher-yielding seeds, Fraley noted. In 2006, the yield advantage in Monsanto's national corn brands was reinforced through more than 49,000 corn breeding comparisons, which highlighted a record 11.7 bushels-per-acre advantage for Monsanto's DEKALB brand in the widely planted 110-day corn.

In soybeans, Fraley also highlighted a strategy that combines strong, conventional soy breeding capabilities with breakthrough applications of molecular breeding to more efficiently identify characteristics that are important to growers.

For the latest update on Monsanto's R&D pipeline, direct links to Fraley's presentation slides are archived here on the company's Web site in the "Investor Information" section. More about Monsanto's pipeline is also online.

Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality.

SOURCE: Monsanto Company via PR Newswire.