Our wheat breeders utilize both classic techniques and new technologies to select and breed wheat faster and more efficiently. Three examples of enhanced technologies our breeders are utilizing include:
- Molecular breeding, or marker-assisted breeding, is a tool that allows our breeders to search a sample of a plant’s DNA to look for markers that are associated with certain characteristics, such as better disease resistance or increased yield potential.
- The Seed Chipper, Monsanto’s proprietary technology, is used to obtain the DNA samples the molecular breeding process analyzes. The chipper removes a small chip from each wheat seed for analysis without harming the seed’s ability to grow. Once our breeders find the incredibly rare combination of genes they’re looking for using molecular markers, they can plant a viable seed for field trials.
- The Doubled-Haploid (DH) process accelerates genetic advancements by reducing the number of plant generations it takes to achieve a pure line. Completely homozygous lines help ensure all plants of a given variety are identical, which increases the precision of testing results and improves the quality of our products.
Through advanced breeding technologies and research capabilities, Monsanto has built on its success in corn and soybean technologies to give WestBred® wheat access to the tools needed to help enhance productivity and improve yield potential.
Developing better seed starts at our Wheat Technology Center in Twin Falls, Idaho, where an elite team of breeders collaborate and leverage advanced Monsanto technologies to develop new solutions. Rather than having breeders and technologies spread across six locations, people and processes were brought together at the Wheat Technology Center in Twin Falls, Idaho to improve the quality and speed of Monsanto’s innovation in wheat.
Even though our breeders are located in Twin Falls, Idaho, we are doing more regional testing than ever before. Our team of Testing Agronomy Managers (TAMs) is solely dedicated to the testing program. With our TAMs located throughout WestBred’s geography, we are better able to test varieties in the conditions for which they are adapted and to determine the best products to bring to market.
At WestBred wheat, we know a successful wheat variety can’t just perform well on the yield monitor. Quality is important to you, and it is to us, too. We focus on providing wheat varieties with superior yield potential and the highest quality.
Our varieties must exceed testing standards over multiple locations and years for characteristics such as protein content, milling yields, dough quality, and baking tests before they reach the market.
To ensure our Hard Red and Hard White wheat varieties produce high quality (and great tasting) bread, rolls, and all-purpose flours, potential varieties undergo extensive analysis during development. Our quality lab uses cutting-edge analytics to assess many characteristics, including weight, size, hardness, protein content, ash, milling yield, flour color, gluten index, sedimentation, water absorption, mixing tolerance, stability, loaf volume, and crumb score.
For the best cookies, pastries and cracker products, our soft white wheat varieties are evaluated for cookie characteristics, including cookie width, height and hardness. The Quality Assurance team advises the breeders from the beginning of the pipeline, to help ensure that there is a great product for the grower and a great product for the market.