September 17, 2008
Frontrunners in Securing and Increasing Yield in Crops
GHENT, Belgium, Sept. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- While the worldwide demand for food, feed and fuel is booming, farmers around the world face losses due to extreme environmental conditions, such as drought. Given this dilemma, increasing and securing yield is the most important challenge in agriculture and also its primary value driver. BASF Plant Science and Monsanto started to jointly address this challenge 18 months ago as the companies announced a research and development collaboration in biotechnology aimed at delivering higher-yielding seed products to farmers.
"With our unique approaches to gene discovery and with nearly 175 locations of field trials in progress in 2008, BASF and Monsanto are the agriculture industry's frontrunners in developing higher-yielding crops that are more tolerant to environmental stress," said Steve Padgette, Vice President of Biotechnology at Monsanto, during a journalist event in Ghent today.
"Of the total market for plant biotechnology, which we estimate will be $50 billion (USD) in 2025, increasing and securing yield definitely has the most business potential and impact. We will pioneer this segment with our first drought tolerant corn product to be launched after 2012 targeting yield advantages of 6 to 10 percent," said Dr. Hans Kast, President and CEO of BASF Plant Science. The second generation of this product is projected to generate further yield advantages in the same range.
Within the collaboration, which focuses on the four main crops corn, soybeans, cotton and canola, Monsanto and BASF Plant Science have already exchanged hundreds of gene constructs resulting in an enlarged gene pool with less than 10 percent overlap. Both the great volume and diversity of genes provide for a high success rate in finding the right lead genes and the companies' joint development pipeline accelerates the products' path to market.
"As the world faces continued and growing demands for agricultural goods, Monsanto has committed to double crop yields in corn, soybeans and cotton by 2030," said Padgette. "Our biotech collaboration with BASF is expected to enable us to both discover and develop higher-yielding products for farmers, at a faster rate."
Strong Product Pipeline
According to both companies, the first results of the collaboration have exceeded their expectations. In January, drought tolerant corn, the most advanced project, was lifted into the Development Phase III, where data for the regulatory process is collected.
Apart from drought tolerance, Monsanto and BASF Plant Science focus on developing plants that use nitrogen more efficiently and plants with improved intrinsic yield, meaning a plant's capacity to produce more yield under normal conditions. For the most advanced projects, the companies anticipate the following market values in the US in 2020:
-- Higher yield in corn (broad acre): more than $1 billion (USD) -- Higher yield in soybeans (broad acre): $300-500 million (USD) -- Improved nitrogen utilization in corn: $300-500 million (USD) -- Drought tolerant corn family: $300-500 million (USD)
In field trials, all four projects have so far shown significant yield improvements over control groups. This year's South American trial for higher yielding soybeans, for instance, showed a yield advantage of 6 to 10 percent, confirming earlier results. Last year's US trials also showed enormous improvements, including drought tolerant cotton delivering an advantage of up to 19 percent under drought conditions.
The BASF Plant Science Monsanto collaboration was also the subject of an investor's event on September 16. A webcast and presentation slides of the conference may be accessed by visiting http://www.basf.de/share/fieldtrip.
About BASF Plant Science
BASF SE consolidated its plant biotechnology activities in BASF Plant Science GmbH in 1998. Today, about 700 employees are working to optimize crops for more efficient agriculture, renewable raw materials and healthier nutrition. Projects include yield increase in staple crops, higher content of Omega-3s in oil crops for preventing cardiovascular diseases, and potatoes with optimized starch composition for industrial use. To find out more about BASF Plant Science, please visit http://www.basf.com/plantscience.
About Monsanto Company
Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. To learn more about our business and our commitments, please visit: http://www.monsanto.com/.
Forward-Looking Statements: As it pertains to BASF:
This press release contains forward-looking statements under the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on current expectations, estimates and projections of BASF management and currently available information. They are not guarantees of future performance, involve certain risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict and are based upon assumptions as to future events that may not prove to be accurate. Many factors could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of BASF to be materially different from those that may be expressed or implied by such statements. Such factors include those discussed in BASF's Form 20-F filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We do not assume any obligation to update the forward-looking statements contained in this presentation.
As it pertains to Monsanto:
Certain statements contained in this release are "forward-looking statements," such as statements concerning Monsanto's anticipated financial results, current and future product performance, regulatory approvals, business and financial plans and other non-historical facts. These statements are based on current expectations and currently available information. However, since these statements are based on factors that involve risks and uncertainties, the company's actual performance and results may differ materially from those described or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, among others: continued competition in seeds, traits and agricultural chemicals; the company's exposure to various contingencies, including those related to intellectual property protection, regulatory compliance and the speed with which approvals are received, and public acceptance of biotechnology products; the success of the company's research and development activities; the outcomes of major lawsuits; developments related to foreign currencies and economies; successful operation of recent acquisitions; fluctuations in commodity prices; compliance with regulations affecting our manufacturing; the accuracy of the company's estimates related to distribution inventory levels; the company's ability to fund its short-term financing needs and to obtain payment for the products that it sells; the effect of weather conditions, natural disasters and accidents on the agriculture business or the company's facilities; and other risks and factors detailed in the company's most recent report on Forms 10-Q and 10-K. Undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements, which are current only as of the date of this release. The company disclaims any current intention or obligation to update any forward-looking statements or any of the factors that may affect actual results.
CONTACT: Media, Kari Matalone, (EU), 32-2-776-7656, or Lee Quarles,(US), +1-314-694-2330, both of Monsanto Company; or Susanne Benner of BASF,(EU), 49-621-60-2857; or Investors, Laura Meyer of Monsanto Company,+1-314-694-5003; or Magdalena Moll of BASF, 49-621-60-48230
Web site: http://www.monsanto.com/http://www.basf.com/plantscience
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