Now, Monsanto Co. said it has moved from the “proof of concept” phase into the “early development” phase for its herbicide-tolerant wheat, a move the St. Louis-based company said brings it closer to its goal of introducing a bioengineered wheat variety. Despite the progress, Robb Fraley, executive vice-president and chief technology officer, said a product launch is still “several years away.”
“We have field tested and advanced one of the first wheat biotech products based on improvements in weed control,” Mr. Fraley said during a Jan. 8 conference call to discuss first-quarter results. “From an overall market perspective, the grain industry and the wheat industry — specifically the wheat trade industry — has remained very interested and supportive of biotech advances.
“A wheat farmer generally is also a corn and soybean farmer, and they understand the benefits of the technology, and the wheat industry has watched the benefits that this technology has brought to both corn and soybeans. And so we continue to make advances.
“We are still several years away from a product launch, but it is nice to see those products in the pipeline.”
The herbicide-tolerant wheat product was designed to give growers another broad spectrum weed control option for weed management with glyphosate tolerant wheat. Monsanto said field trials were conducted last year in Fargo, N.D.