MONHEIM, GERMANY — Bayer CropScience said on Dec. 1 that it will establish its European Wheat Breeding Center in Gatersleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, starting Dec. 1.

Besides the development of new wheat varieties with higher yields and improved properties for the central European market, the new center will also coordinate all of Bayer's wheat-breeding activities in Europe. A rental agreement for laboratory and greenhouse facilities has been signed with Biotechpark Gatersleben Infrastruktur GmbH. Up to 40 full-time employees will work at the center in the future. Financial details have not been disclosed.

The center will be part of Bayer CropScience's global network of wheat-breeding stations. Another center focused on North America is currently being set up in the vicinity of Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S. Additional stations are planned in Europe and Australia with further expansion in Asia and Latin America in the medium term, Bayer said.

A network of alliances with leading international research institutions is also currently being formed to apply the latest advancements in plant biotechnology to wheat research and breeding and thus accelerate variety development process.

“Bayer CropScience recognizes that wheat farmers need to improve yields to stay competitive and meet global demands. Our experienced team at the new European Wheat Breeding Center will be able to deliver first-class varieties of wheat adapted to European growing conditions. These new varieties together with our leading crop protection portfolio will enable us to provide solutions supporting a sustainable wheat production from seed to harvest,” said Dr. Mathias Kremer, head of BioScience at Bayer CropScience. “We are pleased to have found the ideal environment and infrastructure in Biotechpark Gatersleben for our breeding center.”

The Minister for Science and Economy in Saxony-Anhalt, Birgitta Wolff, said, “The establishment of Bayer CropScience’s Wheat Breeding Center in Gatersleben is a substantial backing for plant biotechnology in Saxony-Anhalt. This technology is an important cornerstone for the further economical development of the state.”