Indianapolis, Indiana, USA and Cali, Colombia
June 21, 2011
In the face of rapidly rising global demand for livestock products, which has fueled food price inflation and volatility, new hybrids of Bracharia tropical grasses will make it possible to double the number of animals raised per hectare in South America and other regions. Under a new global agreement announced today by Dow AgroSciences LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW), and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Dow AgroSciences will evaluate and commercialize new Brachiaria hybrids developed by CIAT’s Tropical Forages Program starting in 2011.
Under the terms of the agreement, Dow AgroSciences received rights to commercialize new CIAT Brachiaria hybrids and cultivars globally, except in Colombia; the company’s rights in Africa do not exclude the possibility of other entities disseminating seed of the hybrids in this region. Brachiaria grasses are the leading pasture species in the tropics, occupying several hundred thousand hectares in Latin America alone. Brachiaria hybrids could potentially spread to a much larger part of Latin America’s approximately 70 to 80 million hectares of pasture land as well as in other regions. In addition to boosting livestock production, with important benefits for consumers and producers, this could significantly increase carbon sequestration and reduce methane emissions in tropical livestock production, thus helping to mitigate global climate change.
“The Brachiaria grass hybrids resulting from CIAT’s research on tropical forages are already having an impact on livestock production in the tropics,” said Kay Kuenker, vice president, New Business, Dow AgroSciences. “The improved germplasm, methodologies and knowledge that CIAT is developing will benefit the livestock industry, while aligning perfectly with the desire of Dow AgroSciences to build upon 50 years of experience in the range and pasture marketplace. The new relationship with CIAT offers Dow AgroSciences an opportunity to continue providing differentiated solutions and value to livestock producers globally. This agreement is another example of how Dow AgroSciences is delivering on its growth strategy through technological innovation and collaboration.”
“Our agreement with Dow AgroSciences, which focuses major commercial and technical resources on livestock productivity, represents an important step toward ensuring that productive new grass hybrids can spread as quickly and widely as possible to bolster global food security,” said Joe Tohme, research director for CIAT’s Agrobiodiversity Research Area. “CIAT and Dow AgroSciences have a particular interest in taking the new hybrids to Africa,” he added, “where the grass species originated, and will devote special efforts to disseminating Brachiaria in this region.”
Brachiaria breeding at CIAT commenced in 1988, when the first hybrids were formed. The hybrids developed by CIAT combine the best traits of several Brachiaria species into single cultivars. The hybrids resulting from breeding activities starting in 2011 will be sold by Dow AgroSciences’ experienced sales team.
Dow AgroSciences is a leading provider of chemical solutions for the range and pasture market, and strives to provide comprehensive solutions for livestock producers. Dow AgroSciences entered into the tropical grass seed business when it introduced CONVERTTM HD364, a Brachiaria hybrid originating from CIAT research, during the 2010 planting season.
“Dow AgroSciences is working to ensure ranchers across the tropics have access to the most productive genetics as part of their total range and pasture program,” added Kuenker. “These hybrids have superior forage quality, yield and adaptation which translate into improved productivity and profitability for the milk and meat producer.”
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
CIAT is one of 15 centers that form the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR ). CIAT’s mission is to reduce hunger and poverty, enhance human health, and improve natural resource management in the tropics through research aimed at raising the eco-efficiency of agriculture. With a staff of more than 700 people in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, CIAT focuses its research on agrobioversity, tropical soil fertility, and climate change, with emphasis on strengthening research capacity in developing countries.