Since 2008, multiple private technology providers have announced increased investments in wheat breeding and their interest in partnering with public research programs.
The renewed interest in wheat was spurred by both the wheat industry’s decision to support the eventual introduction of biotechnology in wheat and by analysis showing that demand for wheat will increase 70 percent by 2050, though yields are increasing less than 1 percent annually.
It is widely expected that private wheat work will result in the first commercialized biotech wheat trait within the next decade, although companies’ investments in wheat are already showing dividends through improved varieties developed with conventional breeding techniques.
As the demands placed on wheat researchers grow while public research budgets shrink, private investments in wheat research, and private collaborations with public researchers at universities, will be essential for the continued viability of the U.S. wheat industry.
Companies and organizations announcing investments or collaborations in recent years have included Arcadia, BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, Limagrain, KWS Lochow, Monsanto, Syngenta and Vilmorin.
A timeline of these announcements is available here.