Cutting the ribbon for the new Monsanto Canada Breeding Centre


(left to right: Alan Simms, president of U of M Smartpark; Michael Martin, director of Monsanto's Global Specialty Crop Breeding; Derek Penner, president of Monsanto Canada, Barry Todd, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives; Denise Maurice, VP of Crop Production, Canola Council of Canada.)



A new breeding centre at the University of Manitoba will serve as the heart of Monsanto Canada's canola breeding efforts.

The ribbon was cut for the $12 million Monsanto Canada Breeding Centre yesterday.

"This is the next step in investment for Monsanto Canada and for farmers in western Canada in bringing better technologies, better yielding hybrids to western Canadian farmers," says Monsanto Canada president Derek Penner. "It is 100 percent customized and focused on canola."

"Basically, this facility is the foundation of bringing a canola product from the beginning to commercialization. This is where we do a lot of our testing, we gather data points and look for certain markers that we think are going to bring better traits to the market, and we advance them through the process. It's like a funnel. When you look at the top, we're doing a lot of data points. As we get down, we really narrow our focus on what we can bring to the market. That's what makes this facility so unique, because it allows us to be ultra efficient in how we bring products to commercialization," explains Penner.

The breeding centre will employ approximately 40 staff who will be involved in line development and breeding support functions. The site includes facilities for all canola quality analytics, double haploid breeding and plant pathology.

Penner says the $12 million investment shows Monsanto's commitment to canola. "When you look at this amount of investment, it means we're in this for the long haul. We really believe that there's a long term viability and growth potential for this crop going forward," he says. "For us it's about yield gain. It's about bringing better yields to the market, along with better agronomic traits."

Monsanto has a goal of doubling average canola yields by 2030, while at the same time producing seeds that reduce the use of key resouces by one-third. Penner says this facility will serve an important role in helping the company meet that target.

Approximately 16 percent of hybrid canola grown in western Canada this year contained Monsanto's Dekalb germplasm.

Penner notes the new facility was constructed with environmental sustainability in mind. The building was built to "LEED Silver" certification. It features natural skylights, sensored lighting and geothermal heating and cooling.

~ Wednesday, November 24, 2010 ~