Breeding boost for WA grain growers

Posted by Josette Dunn on 30th August 2010

Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman said the State’s grain growers would reap the benefits of a new partnership between Western Australian-based cereal breeding company InterGrain Pty Ltd and global bioscience technology company Monsanto Co.

Whole grains

Mr Redman said the international breeding collaboration announced today was exciting news for the State’s wheat growers as they grappled with a difficult dry season.

“Monsanto’s minority shareholding in InterGrain will enable access to more advanced breeding technologies and germplasm of improved varieties to benefit our growers,” he said.

“In the short term there will be significant benefits to the conventional (non-GM) cereal breeding program which will utilise rapid and high volume robotic technologies and breeding systems to identify traits for high yield, drought tolerance and nutrient use efficiency.

“These breeding technology services will significantly improve our wheat varieties and ultimately deliver higher yields and value to WA growers.”

The Minister said InterGrain was the leading cereal breeding company in Australia, established by the State Government and the Grains Research and Development Corporation in 2007. The Government would retain the majority shareholding under the new partnership arrangements.

“All other cereal breeding companies in Australia have major international breeding or bioscience companies as shareholders or key collaborators,” he said.

“This new alliance will ensure InterGrain stayed at the forefront of cereal breeding in Australia.”

Mr Redman said the impacts of global factors on the cost-price squeeze for growers and climate change were putting increasing financial pressure on the State’s grain growing businesses.

“The ability for the grains industry and rural communities to prosper into the future will be enhanced with this access to new breeding technologies and genes that enable grain growers and industry to rapidly improve production and be more resilient,” he said.

“Under the InterGrain collaboration with Monsanto, Western Australian grain growers will be among the first to have access to Monsanto’s technologies.”