Monsanto partners with Bayer CropScience to offer more genetically engineered, fungicide-treated seeds

April 10, 2008

Monsanto Company said Tuesday it has entered an exclusive partnership with rival Bayer CropScience to develop a new treatment for corn seeds.

The deal is part of St. Louis-based Monsanto’s broader effort to capture more of the global corn seed market. The firms did not release financial terms of their deal.

Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company is a big player in U.S. commodity crops like soybeans and cotton, and Chief Executive Hugh Grant told investors last week that increasing corn seed sales is a key part of Monsanto’s plan to double its annual operating profit by 2012.

“Corn looms large in our growth plans,” Grant said.

The treated seeds would be resistant to a fungus and other diseases, using Bayer’s patented technology.

Bayer CropScience is a division of the Germany-based chemical giant Bayer AG.

While Monsanto has traditionally competed with Bayer in the market for genetically engineered seeds, the companies formed a research partnership last summer to develop new strains of biotech crops.

The partnership is part of Monsanto’s plan to offer strains of corn that have multiple engineered genes to make the crops resistant to pests and herbicides. Monsanto said Tuesday that some of those seeds will also be sold with the fungicide treatment the company is developing with Bayer.

The fungicide-treated seeds will be available for sale by the year 2010, according to the companies.

The new seed treatment will use an existing Bayer CropScience fungicide called Vortex. See also “Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear”


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