Buenos Aires, November 23rd. When the 2018/19 wheat and barley season is concluding, Asociados Don Mario (ADM), one of the largest breeding companies in Argentina, made its traditional field days “Don Mario MAS” to show the farmers how its wheat varieties are performing. Currently, ADM has two “star” varieties: DM Algarrobo and DM Ceibo (the names come from native trees) and is launching another two: DM Ñandubay y DM Audaz.

Near to Chacabuco city, where the ADM headquarters are based, Jerónimo Costanzi, the Development Manager, explained how the company is positioned in the wheat seed local market. He told that ADM has its own wheat breeding program led by Juan Severo, but also they licensed germplasm from the French Trigall Genetics and the Brazilean Biotrigo. The first one born by a JV between Florimond Desprez (one of the four largest wheat seed suppliers in the EU) and Bioceres, while Biotrigo accounts more than 70% of market share in Brazil.

“In 2016 we had 24% of market share in Argentina; now thanks to the good reception by farmers of our Algarrobo and Ceibo varieties, we grow to 40% of market share”, Mr. Costanzi said. He explained that currently, 3,000 varieties are testing from 25,000 plots in the initial selection process. “Now we are testing 12 top varieties in more than 60 location across the country, in the final stages of the selection process”, Costanzi explained in dialogue with www.eFarmNewsAr.com.

The introduction of “French blood” or French germplasm in Argentine farming during the ’90 had an incredible result in the wheat yields because farmers were able to pass from a defensive strategy to an aggressive one based in the use of more fertilizers and fungicides. “Algarrobo comes from French germplasm”, Costanzi explained. “Last year we collected more than 8,000 kilograms per hectare in experimental plots with this variety; in field condition, farmers reported us average yields from 7,000 kg/ha and combine yield monitors showed peaks of 10,000 kilograms per hectare. We are very proud of these materials”, he added.

During the field day, Mr. Costanzi told farmers that the wheat breeding program has four largest goals: first, to obtain a germplasm with a better performance against stem rust (P. graminis) and head blight (Fusarium sp) and a general good health profile; second, a germplasm with large adaptation to different environments; third, a better quality profile (protein, hectolitre weight, gluten) and fourth, last but not least, “yield, yield, and more yield”.

After years of declining due to wrong policies, since the 2015/16 season when export taxes were removed, wheat crop lives a boom in Argentine farming. The area grew from 5.2 million hectares during 2014/15 season to current 6.2 million hectares, and the output touch 20 MMT. “When we perceived that a dramatic change could occur, we decide to replace our wheat variety portfolio in an aggressive way, and thus we passed from occupying the 6th or 7th place as wheat seed suppliers, to the first”, Agustin Pontacuarto, ADM manager of Wheat, Soybean and Corn, told to www.eFarmNewsAr.com.

“For three consecutive season, DM Algarrobo headed the seed sales and this year, DM Ceibo occupied the second place. In fact, we have three of the ten most selling varieties in the country”, he added. According to the farmers’ opinion, the performance against the stem rust was a key factor to plant the ADM wheat varieties.