Syngenta to scale development of hybrid wheat ahead of 2020 release

USA – The world agricultural company, Syngenta has said that it remains committed to development of hybrid wheat in North America after expectations for the release of hybrid wheat in North America around 2020-21, reports World Grain.

The company said it has decided to scale back late-stage development work in hybrid wheat in North America and that its hybrid wheat research in Canada will be put on hold for the time being.

“We will apply the learnings from commercialization in Europe and plan to ramp up our late-stage program in North America following the successful European launch.

“In Europe, we are most advanced with our program and plan to commercialize hybrid wheat in the next few years. In the U.S., we are continuing with our work in early-stage hybrid wheat.

“In North America, where Syngenta has a market-leading position in varietal wheat, we will continue to invest in R&D for a competitive varietal portfolio, in addition to our work in early-stage hybrid wheat.

“Syngenta remains fully committed to hybrid wheat, which we believe will deliver benefits to growers in increased yield — consistently year-on-year — as with hybrid barley,” said Carlos Iglesias, head of North America cereals, Syngenta Seeds.

Most companies have focused on hybrid corn and soybeans, which have higher short-term returns relative to the potential for wheat hybrids.

Iglesias indicated that the payback to farmers for benefits of hybrid wheat currently may not be enough for them to justify paying more for the hybrid wheat seed.

According to David G. Green, executive director of the Wheat Quality Council, development of hybrid wheat was ongoing, including work at Texas A&M University and the University of Nebraska, as well as at other institutions and private companies.

The company highlighted that priority of investment in the seed industry aims at producing crops that generate more revenue and result in greater profits than wheat.

According to the company officials, Syngenta has about a 34% market share in varietal wheat over the entire United States, with many leading varieties, such as numbers 1, 2 and 3 planted in North Dakota, No. 1 in the Pacific Northwest, and many others leading in various states.

Syngenta is investing in wheat as part of strategy to support variety and early-stage hybrid wheat development alongside achieving sustainable development in the commercial chain.

Its commitment comes after a research carried out at the University of Adelaide (Australia) in conjunction with DuPont Pioneer in 2017 discovered Ms1, a naturally occurring wheat gene that when turned “off” eliminates self-pollination but allows cross-pollination that will permit breeding of high-yield wheat varieties.

Discovery of the Ms1 gene was necessary for cross-pollination in wheat that can be used in large-scale, low-cost production of parent breeding lines needed for hybrid wheat production.

“Syngenta is committed to continue generating, promoting and marketing a stream of elite and competitive varieties for all major production zones to support our leading position in varietal wheat,” the officials said in a joint statement.

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