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Bayer, Texas AgrilLife to Partner on New Wheat Varieties

Wheat (USDA.gov)

(USDA.gov)

Bayer CropScience in Monheim, Germany and Texas AgriLife Research in College Station will collaborate on developing improved types of wheat and taking them to market. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Researchers at the two organizations plan to develop wheat lines that offer drought and disease resistance which are important properties for wheat in the southern U.S. Great Plains, as well as improved yields. Texas AgriLife is a provider of hard red winter wheat cultivars — unique plant samples — and seed collections, which are expected to serve as the basis of the new wheat lines.

The collaboration is also expected to develop molecular breeding tools to encourage faster genetic improvement of wheat. Bayer and Texas AgriLife plan to combine classical and biotechnology breeding techniques to increase yield rates and allow wheat to thrive in areas with conditions which are now considered unfavorable. Bayer will gain non-exclusive access to some of Texas AgriLife’s wheat breeding materials.

Drought is a critical issue to Texas wheat growers. Texas Agrilife says the 2011 drought devastated the Texas wheat crop, with total production only reaching 49.4 million bushels, compared to 127.5 million bushels in 2010. More than 900,000 acres of wheat were abandoned due to extremely poor yield or total crop failure.

Bayer CropScience’s partnership with Texas AgriLife is the company’s third such collaboration in the U.S., joining ongoing programs at South Dakota State University and University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The company also has partnership agreements with institutions in Romania, France, Israel, and Australia.

Read more: BASF to Move Plant Biotech Work to U.S. from Germany

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