Buenos Aires, November 5th. Maybe not as well known as Asociados Don Mario or Nidera Semillas in the world, but Santa Rosa Semillas (SRS) is the third largest soybean genetic developer in Argentina. The company was formed during the ’90 by more than 20 agriculture cooperatives in the Santa Fe province. Today is owned by 19 cooperatives, two private companies and a number of individual stakeholders.
From 2010 to the present, SRS registered 30 soybean new varieties in the Seed National Institute (INASE as its Spanish acronym), the institute in charge to enforce the Plant Breeders Act 20.247. This number positioned SRS as the third large soybean breeder in the country.
“We have a total of 42 soybean varieties registered at the INASE, 21 new varieties in the registration process and a portfolio of twelve varieties offered to farmers”, the breeder in charge of the soybean program, agronomist Juan Pico, told to www.eFarmNewsAr.com.
The company has its I+D headquarters in Salto, Buenos Aires province; during a long time, the soybean program was led by Roberto Wright, one of the most recognized soybean breeders in Argentina.
“Our goal is to accomplish the farmer’s demand”, Mr. Pico says. For this reason, the company is developing new technological platforms for its germplasm. Most of the varieties available to farmers are RR1, but SRS had begun to release new varieties with the Intacta technology.
“Also we have a platform to offer farmers new soybean varieties enhanced with tolerance to sulfonylurea herbicides”, Mr. Pico Added. “The weeds acquiring glyphosate resistance is a big problem to farmers and we are bringing a technological solution for them”, he explains.
But Intacta and sulfonylurea tolerance are not the only tech-platforms in the SRS scope. Currently, they are preparing a drought tolerance one, expecting for the liberation of the HB4 technology, developed by biotechnology startup Bioceres. In the other extreme, SRS develops a conventional, non-GMO, platform to offer farmers varieties eligible for the non-GMO business niche.
In the technological framework, SRS is part of a network integrated by other 5 local breeding companies and the Rosario and Buenos Aires universities. This network facilitates the access to sequencing genome technologies, molecular markers, and gene-editing, three advanced technologies to enhance the traditional breeding work.
Also, SRS has an agreement with the biotechnology startup Bioheuris to develop new varieties with gene-editing technology.
“Our goal is to release between 3 to 6 new soybean varieties per year”, Mr. Pico told to www.eFarmNewsAr.com. “Currently we are supplying soybean genetic to farmers in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and South Africa, with varieties with maturity groups from III to VIII, and promptly we will entering in the Bolivian market”, Mr. Pico concludes.