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  • Unconventional Ag

Bayer Opens Wheat, Soybean Breeding Station

Bayer CropScience has officially opened its new $17 million Breeding and Trait Development Station in Nebraska.

The 53,000 square foot Beaver Crossing facility will use state-of-the-art technology and genetics to create new soybean and wheat varieties to be grown in North America, and eventually South America, that are more resistant to drought and disease, and produce higher yields.

Construction was begun on the facility in September 2013 and finalized in November 2014, and was built with possible future expansion in mind. The facility is the first of its kind in the U.S. for Bayer, and was modeled after a facility designed and built in Germany where the company is headquartered.

The company chose Nebraska as its station site due to its proximity to the University of Nebraska, which Bayer has long supported in its plant breeding research. Partnerships with private industry, such as the one with Bayer CropScience, has allowed the university’s agricultural research to expand even as public financial support has decreased, according to Ronnie Green, the university’s vice chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Nebraska is the eighth largest wheat producing state in the country with 1.45 million acres harvested in 2014, producing approximately 71 million bushels, and is the fifth largest soybean producing state, with 5.4 million acres under cultivation producing 289 million bushels in the 2014 season.

Bayer CropScience began work in breeding wheat in 2010, and has committed to investing more than $1 billion to the effort by 2020. It plans to launch the first wheat resulting from its research this summer in Ukraine.

Bayer is also working toward opening research stations in Australia, Ukraine, Fargo, North Dakota, and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

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