Monsanto takes wheat breeding stake in InterGrain

29 Aug, 2010 02:00 AM

Australia’s wheat breeding capacity has been strengthened with InterGrain Pty Ltd entering into a collaboration agreement with agricultural company Monsanto.

Monsanto, a global giant in biotechnology, has bought a stake in InterGrain, which is one of Australia's leading cereal breeding companies with successful wheat and barley breeding programs.

However, Australian growers – through the Western Australian Government and the GRDC — will continue to maintain the majority stake in InterGrain.

Grains Research and Development Corporation chairman, Keith Perrett, said this collaboration would deliver significant increases in wheat performance for Australian growers, and would target improvements in areas such as yield performance, disease resistance, drought tolerance and improved end use qualities.

“As an InterGrain shareholder, the GRDC board supports the InterGrain Board decision for Monsanto to purchase a minority interest in InterGrain,” Mr Perrett said.

“It is a positive step forward for the Australian grains industry as it links Australian breeding with the global research and development effort.

“Australia must tap into global R&D to make the necessary advances in breeding to serve the Australian grains industry into the future.

“We are working to ensure growers have access to superior varieties that enable them to effectively compete in global grain markets.”

Monsanto is a global bioscience technology company headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, in the United States, and has locations in multiple locations around the world.

InterGrain was established in October 2007 by the State Government of Western Australia and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), when the wheat breeding activities of the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia were transformed from a government based operation into a commercial company structure.

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30/08/2010 8:26:15 AM, on Farm Weekly

This is nothing short of an absolute disasterous move; one that farmers will long regret.
30/08/2010 7:43:21 PM, on Farm Weekly

ggwagga, you must be reading too much literature devoted to scaremongering. We all have to move with the times if we are to keep abreast with the increase in human numbers and their food needs.
2/09/2010 5:49:37 PM, on Farm Weekly

InterGrain CEO Brain Whan has said that GM seeds made from the best non GM germplasm will be available as GM only...and if farmers do not want to grow them they can use the old varieties. This is the WA state breeding group speaking...with GM there is only one choice...the rest of us have to make do with old varieties or be hogtied into using GM. Not fair Redman!
3/09/2010 7:17:28 AM, on Farm Weekly

Hebe - plant breeders are rightly given patents for the improved cultivars they develop. These patents generally last for only 20 years. It follows that the cultivars available now can be grown for seed by anyone in 20 years time or earlier. No large company can corner the market with respect to the availability of all cultivars.
6/09/2010 2:50:23 PM, on Farm Weekly

Why has Redman done this? Where are the GM drought-tolerant wheats? Where are the GM disease-tolerant crops? Why must we sell off our technology in the hopes of getting something that isn't going to happen. There are other avenues to access any of the technology that Monsanto have. Molecular breeding is yet to deliver even a tiny percentage of what it claims it will give and now we are cornering ourselves. This is the start of the end of public varieties. Declining terms of trade is the key threat to agriculture. This sale is only increasing farmers vulnerability to an already parasitic marketplace. Privatisation isn't always progress. Some wisdom would be great but clearly Redman has none of that. The amount of irrepairable damage he has done to our R & D in WA is ridiculous. A drought will not be productive. Plants will always need water to produce. Managing the inputs and being profitable and managing risk is vital and will ALWAYS be more important than miniscule improvements through molecular breeding.
21/09/2010 4:02:03 PM, on Farm Weekly

Rob, in 20 years time the seed would no longer be available. Monsanto will discontinue the line before the patent expires replacing it with new ones. Nobody is allowed to keep the seed (under contract) and could not store seed for 20 years. You are quite innocent and naive it seems. A company CAN corner the market on cultivars.


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