BAYER CropScience announced a pair of agreements with collaborators in the wheat and soybean breeding and technology sectors, expanding its opportunities to develop and offer new genetics and traits to its customers.
Bayer signed a five-year agreement to expand its relationship with Nature Source Genetics, headquartered in Ithaca, N.Y., that will focus on pre-breeding and enhancement of soybean germplasm. The goal is to create better seed using innovative technologies that identify and incorporate previously non-detectable, naturally occurring genes.
Bayer's soybean breeders and geneticists will work with Nature Source's bioanalytical platform to utilize the full range of germplasm. The companies said that platform will allow Bayer to identify potentially high-value genes in previously unused genetic material and incorporate those new genes into commercial germplasm.
Similarly, the company announced that it signed an agreement with leading wheat breeding company Biotrigo Genetica in Brazil to expand on a successful collaboration. The agreement will allow Bayer to use the lineage of Biotrigo's new wheat varieties that are known for their yield, high milling and baking quality and disease resistance.
While the firms had already worked together on South American wheat varieties, Bayer said the new agreement will allow it to build capacity in Europe and emerging markets while strengthening its growth and leadership in Latin America.
During his first official visit to Latin America, Bayer CropScience chief executive officer Liam Condon said March 6 that the firm will further expand its business in the region and announced two initiatives targeted at extending its Brazilian soybean business in particular.
First, Bayer acquired the soybean germplasm bank from Melhoramento Agropastoril, a firm operating in the productive agricultural state of Parana, Brazil. Second, Bayer signed an agreement to acquire soybean seed company Wehrtec and the soybean business of Agricola Wehrmann, both headquartered in the state of Goias.
Condon said the acquisitions will enable Bayer to enhance its soybean research and breeding efforts. Last year, the company reported sales growth in Brazil and Argentina of roughly 20%.
Brazil is the company's second-largest individual market, following only the U.S. Bayer expanded its workforce in Brazil by nearly 20% last year and is planning a similar increase this year.