InterGrain Pty Ltd. and Monsanto Co. have formed a technology collaboration agreement that is expected to lead to significant new advances in wheat technology for Australian growers. In connection with the collaboration, Monsanto has acquired a 19.9 percent minority interest in InterGrain, a leading cereal breeder in Australia. The WA State Government remains the majority shareholder, with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) remaining a shareholder as well.
Monsanto and InterGrain will exchange certain wheat germplasm for breeding, with InterGrain gaining access to breeding technology tools and services for genotyping and marker development. This is expected to deliver increased genetic gain that will ultimately provide Australian wheat farmers with the ability to achieve higher yields.
“This is a very exciting development for Australian wheat farmers, with the partnering of Australia’s leading wheat breeder and germplasm developer and the world’s no. 1 technology provider,” InterGrain chairman Dale Baker says. “InterGrain has been actively seeking a partner to grow our wheat breeding program for some time, and is very pleased to reach this agreement with Monsanto, the world’s leader in this regard. It will open the doors to a vast new library of germplasm and powerful technology capacity that Australian wheat growers have not previously had access to, which we expect will translate to more rapid improvements in wheat yields and performance.”
Baker says the collaboration would potentially allow advances in areas such as yield performance, disease resistance, and drought tolerance, as well as improved end use qualities.
InterGrain is a leading Australian crop breeding company with highly successful wheat and barley breeding programs that target the major cereal growing areas of Australia.
“This collaboration, and the associated funding and access to advanced breeding tools it brings, will support the acceleration of genetic gain for wheat, which is a promising development for wheat growers around the world – especially those in Australia,” says Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s chief technology officer. “InterGrain has an excellent team of breeders, and with the breeding and technology expertise Monsanto brings to this collaboration, together we expect to deliver significant benefits to Australian wheat growers.”