Bayer acquires wheat breeding station in France
by Josh Sosland
MONHEIM, GERMANY — Bayer CropScience has a acquired a wheat breeding station from RAGT Semences S.A.S. in Milly-la Foret near Paris in France.
Situated in a major wheat growing region, the station features 77 hectares (190 acres) of land and another 100 hectares (247 acres) of leased property. Also included in the transaction are greenhouses and laboratories.
RAGT Semences is a privately-held company. Financial details were not disclosed. RAGT is a seed and farm supply company with operations in 12 countries from Spain and the United Kingdom to Russia and the Ukraine.
The acquisition is the latest by Bayer in expanding its wheat business.
“We are focused on increasing yields in wheat and adapting new varieties to existing environmental challenges,” said Mathias, Kremer, head of the BioScience business at Bayer Crop Science. “This new breeding station in France will enable us to deliver solutions to wheat farmers more rapidly by tapping into our global network of experts, tools like molecular breeding as well as working closely with local partners and farmers.”
Bayer does not yet offer wheat varieties in France but expects to be doing so by the end of the decade. The company said breeders are working on traits such as tolerance to abiotic stresses such as drought and heat as well as resistance to fungal diseases.
Bayer noted that wheat remains the most widely grown crop globally, planted on 25% of the world’s arable land. It is second behind corn in terms of cereal production.
“However wheat productivity is growing at a rate of less than 1% annually, while the global demand is increasing twice as fast,” the company said.