KWS SAAT AG and Bayer CropScience co-develop herbicide-tolerant sugar beet

Innovative breeding approach creates new opportunities for sugar beet growers

KWS SAAT AG and Bayer CropScience AG have signed an agreement to jointly develop and commercialize an innovative system of weed control in sugar beet for the global market. The technology is based on the breeding of sugar beet varieties that are tolerant to herbicides in the ALS-inhibitor-class with broad-spectrum weed control. This will give farmers a new opportunity to make sugar beet cultivation easier, more flexible in its timing and more environmentally friendly. The system is scheduled to be available to farmers in some years.

Joint research on developing the system began in 2001. The new sugar beet plants have a naturally occuring change in an enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of essential amino acids. During the development, sugar beets with this spontaneously changed enzyme were specifically selected and used for further breeding. As such, these varieties are not a product of genetic modification.

“KWS has been using state-of-the-art methods to breed high-yielding varieties for a sustainable agriculture for more than 150 years. With the development of these new sugar beet varieties, we continue our success of the last decades. We started work on this innovative system 11 years ago and it will finally be available for farmers in some years. The new technology will significantly improve the competitiveness of sugar beet and enable our customers to cultivate sugar beets more successfully in future", explained Dr. Peter Hofmann, Head of the Sugar Beet Division at KWS.

"Bayer CropScience has contributed to reliable weed control in sugar beet with its regularly improved BetanalTM products for more than 40 years. But no fundamentally new herbicide active ingredient in sugar beet has come onto the market for many years, unlike in crops like wheat or corn. The new system will make it possible in future to use new active ingredients in sugar beet and control major weeds with low dose rates of product and reduced number of applications", said Christophe Dumont, responsible for the company's business strategies in soy, corn, cotton, sugar cane, sugar beet and for the herbicides portfolio.

About KWS

KWS is one of the world's leading plant breeding companies represented in 70 countries of the world with 60 subsidiaries and affiliated companies. The product spectrum contains a broad range of varieties for sugar beet, corn, cereals, oil crops and potatoes. KWS conducted business for more than 150 years in an independent and sustainable manner. Net sales in the year 2010/11 amounted to EUR 855 Mio, about 75 percent was generated outside Germany. Currently, about 3,800 employees work for the KWS Group worldwide. KWS invests approx. 15 percent of its annual sales in research and development each year. KWS uses state-of-the-art plant breeding methods to increase yields and further enhance resistances to diseases, pests and abiotic stress factors. More information is available at

About Bayer CropScience

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, nutrition and high-tech materials. Bayer CropScience, a subgroup of Bayer AG with sales of EUR 7,255 billion in 2011, is one of the world’s leading innovative crop science companies in the fields of crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and plant biotechnology. The company offers an outstanding range of products and extensive service backup for modern, sustainable agriculture and for non-agricultural applications. Bayer CropScience has a global workforce of about 21,000 and is represented in more than 120 countries.

Further information about the company is available at:


Dr. Henning von der Ohe
Head of Corporate Development and Communications

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