Company sees 'huge opportunities for advancement'  in wheat technology

By MATTHEW WEAVER

Capital Press

Global agriculture company Syngenta says it's shifting its strategy to focus on the needs of growers.

Syngenta recently announced that it will combine its commercial operations worldwide, refocusing research and development efforts on crop and grower needs.

The company was previously working from an asset-based model, with crop protection and seed care divisions kept separate, said Andrea McConnell, cereals portfolio manager for Syngenta in North America.

Bringing the technology together allows the company to maximize opportunities in the crop, as opposed to looking at it primarily from a herbicide or fungicide standpoint, McConnell said.

McConnell said the company is combining its crop protection, seed care and seed business for all crops into an integrated approach.

Hybrid technology for wheat is a heavy focus for Syngenta, McConnell said. It is likely to arrive in the U.S. in 2019 or 2020.

"When you look at wheat, it really isn't very 'technified' compared to a crop like corn or soybeans," McConnell said. "There are huge opportunities for advancement in this crop."

The company works with marker-assisted breeding and double haploid technology to speed up the breeding process, but the result isn't a genetically modified organism, she said.

Syngenta is exploring biotechnology in wheat as well, McConnell said.

Combining hybrid wheat with crop protection, seed care and potential growth enhancement projects can make for large advances, she said.

"It could mean higher yield, more water and nutrient optimization, better disease resistance," she said. "There's really a lot of different areas we'll be able to provide value."

Online

www.syngenta.com

Recommended for you