Monsanto’s research in genetically modified wheat is focused on helping improve wheat productivity through the use of breeding, biotechnology and improved agronomic practices. We have been investing in wheat breeding research – increasing the number of wheat breeding trials and deploying advanced breeding tools like molecular markers and seed chipping technology that will help develop better varieties faster. In addition to breeding for overall yield improvement, our wheat breeding efforts are also focused on preventing yield loss due to disease and other environmental stressors.
While the company’s near-term focus is on breeding better varieties, longer term, these seeds could serve as the foundation for new biotechnology traits.
GM wheat research
Our biotechnology work in wheat is still in the very early research phases and at least a decade away from commercial approval. Monsanto remains committed to ongoing dialogue with the wheat industry and farmers to support the successful introduction of new technologies thoughtfully.
For herbicide tolerance, specifically, Monsanto has been in the very early stages of working on a package of herbicide-tolerance traits, which would provide wheat farmers choice for effective weed management to maximize crop yield potential.
Our first herbicide-tolerance wheat project, a stack of glufosinate and dicamba, moved into phase two of our research and development pipeline last year. Field trials of this project have shown strong tolerance to dicamba and glufosinate.
A second wheat project, a new Roundup Ready wheat event entirely different from the historic first event, is also in phase two of our research and development pipeline. Monsanto started over in its wheat research efforts when it reentered the business in 2009 so this is an entirely different event than the one that was reported by the USDA as being found in an Oregon field in 2013.
Longer term, our biotechnology efforts in wheat could explore other agronomic traits.
Field trials are a standard part of crop research and are essential for the responsible development of any technology. All field trials in the United States are regulated by the USDA, including shipment, storage, isolation, separation and monitoring requirements. Monsanto trials are planted to meet or exceed the USDA and state regulatory requirements.
Since re-entering the wheat business in 2009, Monsanto has conducted small-scale, entry level field trials in North Dakota and, more recently, Canada. The trials were conducted in the hard red spring class of wheat.
Updated September 2014