Monsanto has made significant advances with its first GMO-wheat

Biotech titan Monsanto has made significant advances in the development of herbicide-tolerant wheat, the company announced recently, and could have the first-of-its-kind crop ready for farming in just a few years’ time.

Genetically-modified wheat isn’t legally approved anywhere in the world, but the billion-dollar St. Louis, Missouri-based agriculture company has for years been determined to develop the first GMO variety of the cash crop. Now Monsanto’s chief technology officer thinks the company is on the right track with regards to research.

Monsanto’s GMO wheat-in-progress is among 29 endeavors being undertaken by the group to have made “phase advancements” recently, company reps said in a conference call last week, and testing has advanced from the “proof of concept” stage to early development.

Monsanto-made wheat, like other GMO crops created by the company, would be resistant to their weed killer Roundup and thus join the likes of other “Roundup Ready” products already sold by the company, including bioengineered soybean and corn.

“From an overall market perspective, the grain industry and the wheat industry — specifically the wheat trade industry — has remained very interested and supportive of biotech advances,” Monsanto CTO Robb Fraley said during last week’s call, according to Baking Business reporter Eric Schroeder.

“A wheat farmer generally is also a corn and soybean farmer, and they understand the benefits of the technology, and the wheat industry has watched the benefits that this technology has brought to both corn and soybeans. And so we continue to make advances,” added Schroeder.

According to the company’s top technologist, though, GMO wheat would likely not be reality until a couple of years down the road.

“We are still several years away from a product launch, but it is nice to see those products in the pipeline,” Fraley added.

Indeed, Monsanto has actually spent the better part of a decade-and-a-half researching GMO wheat. The company began field testing a variety starting in 1998, but suspended operations in 2005 after determining that a super-wheat strain wasn’t quite ready to be launched.

As RT reported last week, Monsanto also recently announced that sales of its Roundup Ready soybean grew 16 percent during the quarter ending November 30, 2013.

Piper Jaffray Cos analyst Michael Cos told Bloomberg News at the time that Monsanto’s GMO soybean “will prove to be the single most important earnings driver” for the company during the course of the next two years. According to Fraley’s assessment, though, the company could be nearly completion on its GMO wheat by then.

Should Monsanto stay on track, however, they’ll still have to worry about the restrictions currently in place in the United States and abroad against GMO wheat. The company became the centerpiece of a biotech scandal last year when remnants of old biotech wheat turned up on an Oregon farm practically a decade after Monsanto supposedly stopped testing the crop. After those reports circulated, a government official for Japan’s farm ministry placed an embargo on all US wheat.

Many others countries outside the US have banned GMO imports, and China recently refused no fewer than five shipments of American corn allegedly over concerns it could have been tainted by a biotech variety of the crop.


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One comment

  1. Graham George Cheater

    What is interesting about the above article is the statement “will prove to be the single most important earnings driver”. So it’s not about the crops then, providing stronger crops/quality seed/grain, better yield? No, because Monsanto is basically a chemical manufacture, which has a branch in agriculture! (Wikipedia makes interesting reading on the company.) Check out also the ‘Trans-Pacific Partnership’, (also in Wikipedia), which at this very moment is in unlawful talks, without public knowledge, of making secretly held court agreements within Europe that ‘protect Monsanto’ should crop growers/land owners, etc, try to sue them for any adverse experiences.
    The entire Monsanto seed and agriculture business is built upon their products being superior to the tradition crops. The truth is that their products are inferior and the chemicals that are required to be used for a so called ‘successful’ crop will wipe out any neighbouring crops.
    Watch out too for their ownership of product names! They are also willing to pay huge sums of money for the right to own a name/word which occurs in our language, (or language base, like its latin name), that describes the item!
    A simple example would be ‘Broccoli’. Owning the name would give them the right to claim payment from growers/sellers/purchasers of the product.
    Sounds incredible? Well, check Youtube to know more about Monsanto, there’s plenty there!
    Finally. You may remember that recently there was an uprising by the Argentinian public, looting shops and stores in the city of Cordoba, Argentina. The police went in strike for a weekend, it was said, for better pay. Wrong, the same weekend, under the smokescreen of the ‘police event’, Monsanto opened its new seed factory, where? – CORDOBA!

    Like

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