Bayer held a grand opening for its wheat breeding station at Pike Lake, Saskatchewan on Friday, and highlighted plans to make spring wheat hybrids available to Canadian growers within the next six to eight years.
“Our aim is to develop hybrid spring wheat that offers improved yields, yield stability, disease resistance and productivity improvements tailored for the challenges growers face in Western Canada,” said Al Driver, President and CEO, Bayer CropScience Inc.
Bayer broke ground for the facility in 2014 — part of a $24 million commitment to Canadian wheat breeding. It features an analytical lab, pathology research space, workshops, office spaces, equipment and seed storage, as well as 480 acres for breeding and trial evaluation, and product research. It will employ between 15 and 20 staff and focus on hybrid Canadian Prairie Spring and Canadian Western Red Spring wheat varieties.
“The opening of this facility represents a monumental investment into the research and development of new and innovative hybrid wheat technologies designed specifically to help Canadian growers overcome some of their biggest cropping challenges, so they can successfully compete in the global grains market,” noted Marcus Weidler, Bayer’s head of Seeds Canada.
The investment in the Pike Lake station is part of Bayer’s larger commitment to spend $1.9 billion on wheat research around the world over the next ten years.