Monsanto invests to transform plant breeding

Farm Forum

ST. LOUIS – With a growing global population and increased pressures on agriculture due to climate change, farmers around the world will increasingly require a broad range of agricultural solutions to improve the on-farm potential of crops on our world’s finite farmland. Today, Monsanto Company reinforced its commitment to further improve the genetic potential of seeds by announcing a $20 million investment in integrated technology centers as part of its global breeding program. These technology centers will utilize continuing advancements in data science, genomic breeding methods and predictive analytics to further enhance seeds. This work will help farmers unlock untapped yield potential as they produce crops to help nourish our growing world.

“We are at a unique inflection point in the evolution of plant breeding where data science and predictive analytics will help to unlock previously untapped potential of plant genetics,” said Sam Eathington, Monsanto vice president of global plant breeding. “Monsanto is committed to continue to deliver new agricultural solutions through plant breeding so that farmers can keep up with the growing demands of food production in the face of population growth and climate change.”

Monsanto utilizes its broad network of breeding and field testing locations, global germplasm library and advanced technologies to develop better products for farmers. And with today’s announcement, the company highlighted its commitment to invest $20 million over the next two years to accelerate plant breeding research across integrated technology centers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota and Nebraska. These integrated technology centers will enable the company to combine some local operations, utilize new advancements and discoveries, as well as share best practices across crop research.

“Advanced plant breeding techniques and the application of data science are key elements working together to contribute to a food-secure future. And we’re scaling our breeding engine to develop products that help farmers around the world meet this challenge,” said Eathington.

About Plant Breeding at Monsanto

Plant breeding is a core platform of Monsanto’s research and development pipeline. The company invests a significant amount of its R&D effort in developing better seeds through plant breeding. Monsanto collaborates with academic institutions, industry partners and organizations to broadly license our technology and share information to ensure farmers have access to many solutions. Teams around the world utilize breeding across row crops – corn, soybeans, cotton, canola/oilseed rape, wheat, sorghum and sugarcane – as well as fruits and vegetables to meet the needs of farmers and society. Monsanto’s global field testing network, genomic breeding methods and predictive analytics capabilities enable plant breeders to identify, select and commercialize better performing crops for farmers regardless of the size of the land they farm. The plant breeding team is focused on delivering new seed products to support improvements in on-farm yield, enhance overall plant health, mitigate increased pest pressures, deliver improvements in fruits and vegetables, as well as increase overall genetic diversity of seed products available to farmers.

Monsanto also remains committed to the advancement and understanding of plant genomes that can benefit broader society. The company worked with a broad network of leaders to complete a draft sequence of the corn genome, which resulted in the first mapping of the corn genome in the world in 2008. The company also previously made its rice genome data publically available to the worldwide research community to expand scientific knowledge and accelerate related research projects.