Kim’s involvement in the North American and Canadian agricultural industry is profound. He focuses on building bridges and creating opportunities, with great results. Last year, we had the opportunity to celebrate with Kim as he was inducted into the Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame .
One of Kim’s current projects includes RealLeaders, an online video series by RealAgriculture.com where Kim sits down and talks with people who have helped influence North American agriculture.
Kim McConnell speaks with Dr. Robert T. Fraley, a pioneer in biotechnology on RealLeaders, a Real Agriculture program.
Kim’s most recent interview was with Robert T. Fraley, who is one of the leading biotechnology researchers in the world. If the video embedded does not work, you can see it on YouTube, here.
Thanks to RealAgriculture.com for creating opportunities for partnership and dialogue in agriculture, and congratulations to Kim on success in your continued projects.
I am extremely excited that Calgary is hosting the world’s largest Agricultural Biotechnology Conference, (ABIC) September 15 to 18, 2013. As the Conference Organizing Committee Chair, I know that this year’s conference is going to have a lot of take-home information that will be very interesting and greatly beneficial to those who attend. We are expecting over 600 delegates from more than 20 countries with representation from agriculture, academia and government.
The theme of this year’s conference is: “Food, Water and Energy for a Hungry World”. This theme is of great interest to me personally due to the enormous challenges and opportunities that the agriculture industry will see as we try to deal with the needs of 9 billion people in the decades ahead. (more…)
“The train is out of the station,” as Monsanto brings the idea of genetically modified wheat technology to the world market for a second time. Now focusing on DNA traits such as resistance to drought, disease and nitrogen deficiency, Monsanto hopes for more of a welcoming reception than the first time around.
However, Monsanto is not alone in developing new wheat varieties – all the major plant breeding companies have launched wheat breeding programs in the last two years.
Sean Gardner, Monsanto Global Wheat Lead, explained the advantages of biotechnology and what’s in store for wheat in the future to attendees at the FarmTech 2011 conference held in Edmonton earlier this year.
With about 500 million dedicated acres across the globe, wheat is the world’s largest crop. However, the income from wheat is lower than the crops benefiting from genetically modified technology such as corn, soybeans and cotton. Based on the acceptance of GM technology in those crops, there is good reason to believe that the same will apply to wheat.
“We can take what we have learned in corn breeding and apply it to wheat,” says Gardner.
However, Monsanto does not intend to bring Roundup Ready wheat as a standalone product; instead the crop DNA will have a mixture of traits such as drought resistance that will result in higher yields. As a result, the genetically modified wheat will increase crop yields up to 10 to 15 per cent.
Because Monsanto is in the early stages of development, field trials aren’t expected to begin for the next couple of years. It will be at least 13 to 15 years until genetically modified wheat will be on the market.
For the short-term, Monsanto’s focus will be on breeding technology, which has power to drive for higher yield production. The development of combining biotechnology traits such as drought, disease and herbicide resistance is Monsanto’s long-term goal.
Growers in the United States have expressed more interest in this idea compared to Canadian growers but Gardner hopes to that with more cooperation from the Canadian Wheat Board, that attitude will change.
What do you think about genetically modified wheat?
Haleigh Packer is a practicum student in AdFarm’s Calgary office. You can follow her on Twitter @HHKPacker.
We don’t just drive by the fields and feed lots. We’re in the fields and feed lots - working, connecting, helping out with the chore of advancing agriculture. Except it isn’t a chore, it’s our passion. And then we get to blog about it.