SeedingSustainability Report 2009 I 2010                                    the future                                    ...
SustainabilityWe understand sustainability as thinking and acting in terms of generations – as we have for more than 150 y...
Sustainability at a Glance                                                                                                ...
Foreword by the Chief Executive Officer                            Dear Readers and Friends of KWS,                       ...
Company ProfileSeeding the Future – Since 1856                                       Fiscal year 2009/2010KWS SAAT AG, whi...
Sustainability – Management with a Sense of ResponsibilityResponsibility toward humankind and nature is an obligation for ...
Dialogue with Stakeholders                                                                                                ...
Innovation and SustainabilityAgriculture supplies a growing number of people with food, fodder, renewable resources and en...
Growing importance of corn                                       form of cell service, molecular genetic analyses and the ...
Organic Farming                                                                                                           ...
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010
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KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010

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The current sustainability report of the KWS Group. The next one will be published in 2012.

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KWS Sustainability Report 2009/2010

  1. 1. SeedingSustainability Report 2009 I 2010 the future Sustainability Report 2009 I 2010 KWS SAAT AG
  2. 2. SustainabilityWe understand sustainability as thinking and acting in terms of generations – as we have for more than 150 years. ContinuityResponsibility Innovation Employees Environment Society Responsibility toward Annual breeding progress Freedom, fairness, trust We are committed to the Only a good social humankind and nature of 1–2% is required to ensure and respect are values careful use of natural resources environment can help is what guides all our the supply of food and that KWS’ employees and to thinking and acting society make advances. day-to-day activities. raw materials from plants. practice in their in terms of ecological cycles. day-to-day interactions.
  3. 3. Sustainability at a Glance Table of Contents Responsibility Sustainability at a Glance 4 1856 The owner-led family business begins breeding plant varieties. KWS has supplied farmers with seed Foreword by the Chief Executive Officer 6 and offered generations of employees and their families a promising livelihood for more than 150 years. Company Profile 8 20 years ago, KWS initiated an intensive dialogue with stakeholders by founding Sustainability – Management with a Sense of Responsibility 10 the “Plant Breeding Advisory Board.” Implementation 10 Compliance 10 Risk and Opportunity Management 11 Innovation Dialogue with Stakeholders 12€  98 million  spent KWS on product development in fiscal 2009/2010. Our R&D budget has risen by an average of 6% per annum over the past 10 years. Plant Breeding Advisory Board 13 Innovation and Sustainability 14 274 KWS was awarded 274 distribution approvals worldwide for sugarbeet, corn and Research and Breeding 14 cereal varieties in fiscal 2009/2010. Organic Farming 19 40,000 A special testing method developed by KWS’ scientists makes it possible to determine the sugar content Energy Plants 20 of beets grown in 40,000 trial plots while they are being harvested. Biodiversity 21 Seed Production 22 Customer Consulting 26 Employees 2009 KWS won the “Family-Friendly Business” award from the German Ministry of Family Affairs. Employees 28 Recruitment 28 2009 KWS established the “Breeders Academy,” a practical training program for junior staffers Personnel Development 30 in the field of plant breeding. Spirit of Cooperation at the Company 32 Family, Leisure and Work 34 84 KWS is offering 84 trainees in industrial, business administration and agricultural vocations the chance to launch their careers in the current year. Work Safety and Health 36 Environmental Protection at the Company 38 Environmental Management 38 Environment Energy and Emissions € 750,000 KWS will provide € 750,000 over the next five years for a project to preserve and evaluate plant genetic 39 resources in Peru – its contribution to the International Year of Biodiversity. Water and Waste Water 42 Hazardous Substances 43 80% of the company’s energy needs will be met by biogas as of the fall of 2010. Waste and Recycling 44 Transport Logistics 46 80% of KWS’ waste will be recycled in fiscal 2009/2010. Social Commitment 48 Promoting the Region 48 Society Promotion of Science and Research 50 3 Since 2006 KWS has presented 3 school grants as a way of helping to fund scientific, artistic or Outline of the Report’s Principles 51 climate protection projects under the patronage of the state government of Lower Saxony. GRI-Index 52 € 222,000  In fiscal 2009/2010 KWS made € 222,000 available as part of its cultural and social commitment Publication Information 58 in the Southern Lower Saxony region. Key Economic Figures of the KWS Group 594 Sustainability at a Glance I Table of Contents I 5
  4. 4. Foreword by the Chief Executive Officer Dear Readers and Friends of KWS, In order to optimize our energy concept and ensure a long- “Seeding the Future” – that means sustainability and future term, climate-friendly supply of power for our greenhouses orientation in all we do. And that naturally includes putting I am pleased to present you with KWS SAAT AG’s second and seed processing operations, we intend to meet around sustainability at the heart of all our business processes – Sustainability Report under the slogan “Seeding the Future.” 80% of our energy needs at Einbeck with biogas by the end from research and breeding, production and distribution to The objective of this report, which is published every two of 2010. And so we come full circle: Energy plant varieties customer consulting. We will continue to devote our efforts years, is to provide you with details of our fields of opera- bred by KWS and grown by farmers are processed and to our company and its future, optimize our products and tion and strategies relating to corporate responsibility. returned to the company as biogas. services, protect the environment and remain an attractive In our efforts to widen its scope, the report now includes employer for the members of our workforce. further German subsidiaries and information on all of the In the face of the global challenges facing us, it is of great Group’s four segments: Sugarbeet, Corn, Cereals and importance in plant breeding to conduct intensive research I would like to thank everyone who has collaborated in cre- Breeding & Services. into the genetic resources currently available, describe ating this Sustainability Report, and I hope you find it to be them and preserve them long-term in gene banks. Bio- interesting and stimulating reading. Plants are a renewable source of raw materials and food. diversity, the wide variety of different plants in agriculture, Starting from the various types of plants, we develop vari- is vital to breeding success. In 2010, the International On behalf of the Executive Board, I offer my best regards eties that are ideally suited to their specific cultivation con- Year of Biodiversity, KWS launched a related cooperation from Einbeck. ditions and uses. As a seed company, we therefore make project with Peruvian corn breeders. a major contribution to tackling global challenges, such as climate change, a shortage of food and the finite nature Acquiring junior staffers has always been a key concern of fossil fuels. of ours. In addition to the specific vocational training and apprenticeships we offer, in fiscal 2009/2010 we initiated We are committed to climate protection and energy efficien- the “Breeders Academy” with the aim of training young cy in our core business – as evidenced by our expansion people specifically in the field of research and breeding. Philip von dem Bussche of energy plant production and conversion of our operating The two-year basic and intensive training programs for Chief Executive Officer processes to renewable sources. plant breeders, which complement the participants’ uni- versity education in this area, are very practice-oriented Energy from biomass, or bioenergy, is one of the most im- and geared toward the types of crops we breed.Philip von dem Bussche portant renewable sources of energy when it comes toChief Executive Officer producing power, heat and fuel. By breeding energy plants, We are pleased that our commitment to a family-friendly we support agricultural concepts for power generation. KWS was rewarded in June 2009, when the then German KWS’ corn and sugarbeet have proven their particular Minister of Family Affairs, Ursula von der Leyen, presented value in this field. Various types of cereals, rapeseed and our company with an award in the “Family-Friendly Com- sorghum round out our portfolio of energy plants. pany Southern Lower Saxony 2009” contest in the catego- ry for companies with more than 100 employees. We have a great interest in ensuring that our employees remain satisfied and loyal to KWS – after all, they play a vital part in securing our long-term business success.6 Foreword by the Chief Executive Officer I 7
  5. 5. Company ProfileSeeding the Future – Since 1856 Fiscal year 2009/2010KWS SAAT AG, which is headquartered in Einbeck, In fiscal 2009/2010, the Group employed 3,492 people andLower Saxony, is a leading, independent seed company generated net sales of € 754 million. We are the world’s No.for agricultural crops. It has more than 40 subsidiaries 4 in seed business for agricultural crops. This is the resultand associated companies worldwide and operates in of sustained growth in net sales at an annual averagesome 70 countries. of 6% over the past ten years. This gratifying performance proves that KWS is able to achieve sustainable, largelyWe can look back on a 150-year tradition of delivering top- organic growth, despite growing insecurity in global agricul-quality, high-yielding products – the key to our success – tural markets. The foundation for this: Farmers know that,past, present and future. Our product portfolio comprises in times of very low producer prices, the quality of seed is asugarbeet, corn and cereal seed, as well as oilseed and production factor with a major influence on yields and thuspotatoes. Our core markets are in the moderate climatic on the farmers’ potential income.zone, with the main ones being Europe and North America.We regard plant breeding as a process of improving the The KWS Group – Sales by segmentproperties of plants for agricultural production to the ben-efit of our customers, users of our products, consumersand the environment. Plants are an inexhaustible source Cerealsof food and raw materials. That is why we are committed 9% Other**to the responsible use of our natural resources. 3%The cornerstones of our everyday business activities Around 1,000 people work at our headquarters in Einbeck.The KWS brand embodies values that have grown andbeen lived over many years that generations of KWS Net sales € 754 million Corn*employees have established and evolved in dialogue with 55% that means that we have to keep our product development Creation of value added Sugarbeetour customers. In our company’s long history, customers 33% efforts at as high a level as possible. Consequently, wehave built a deep trust in our products and employees. have increased our R&D budget by an average of 6% per Raw materials Value added and supplies,To this day, the majority stake of the family shareholders annum over the past ten years so that farmers can achieve purchased goods 29%enables us to gear the company’s strategy to the long term. an increase in yields of 1–2% a year. If we want to keep our and services 41% earnings and thus our value creation for our stakeholdersThe cornerstones of our everyday business activities * includes oil and field seed (see the charts) at a constantly high level, we have to earn Total output € 800.4 millioninclude: includes services and farming additional R&D expenditures from organic growth in the ** FY 2009/2010 market.• Sustained and large investments in research and breed- ing so that we can give our customers varieties that Our operating income (EBIT) has also grown by an average keep on offering higher yields and hardiness. Our goal is of 6% per annum in the recent years, despite a steadily Other third-party Depreciation, amortization, to identify trends in agriculture at an early stage so as to Above-average investment in research growing research and development (R&D) budget and capi- goods and services impairment losses 27% 3% develop future-oriented solutions. and development tal expenditure – in particular on developing new markets – Plant breeding, with its high-yielding yet resistant varieties, that is always above depreciation. It was 82.4 million• Nurturing personal relationships. We attach great impor- has become the key factor in the agricultural production in fiscal 2009/2010. Our future goal is likewise to achieve Distribution of value added tance to being a trusted partner and expert advisor to process. Continuous improvements in yields are expected average sales growth of at least 5% and a double-digit Company our customers. from agriculture around the world, yet global cultivation EBIT margin. 16% area is limited to around 1.5 billion hectares – or just over• Our independence as a seed specialist. Our inde- 2,000 m² per person to provide the food, fodder and re- Shareholders 5% pendence as a company with a tradition of family newable resources we need. However, approximately 50% Minority interest 1% ownership ensures our ability to make decisions freely of the world’s harvests are destroyed by disease, insect Value added and to operate sustainably. pests and negative weather influences. KWS is tackling this € 233.3 million challenge, fully aware that it takes around ten years to de- Public sector 12% velop a single variety in plant breeding. In terms of strategy, Employees 63% Lenders 3% FY 2009/20108 Company Profile I 9
  6. 6. Sustainability – Management with a Sense of ResponsibilityResponsibility toward humankind and nature is an obligation for KWS and a guiding principle of its At the beginning of 2010, KWS conducted a compliance Risk management networkday-to-day interactions with customers, shareholders, employees and consumers. All major aspects, risk assessment and used its results to define focal topics. They include data privacy, combating corruption andsuch as product responsibility, environmental protection and social concerns, are addressed. This the prevention of anti-competitive practices. itors Audis also reflected in KWS’ principles, which have proven their value in creating a shared understanding Ce nt g of system An independent auditing firm also conducts regular ditin rof our visions and objectives in our everyday work. Au nancial statem s an al fi en d co ts compliance audits and examines the implementation of nt r its olli its recommendations in subsequent audits. tomer-supplier aud ng Early Inte detection Accounting rtifi rnal au iting grated ManImplementation Compliance of risks d Risk and n catio Compliance ce nte Cus ag Opportunity Management d g, i em rsThe basis of our approach is for all functional areas of KWS The compliance system, which KWS implemented a num- nt it fie in e Sy ud an rtito act responsibly in compliance with existing national and ber of years ago, consists of extensive rules and regu- ste al a Extern ce m O ISinternational legal regulations and guidelines. This must be lations that give KWS’ employees worldwide guidance on Int er nensured at all levels so as to minimize business risks and acting lawfully and ethically. The system also has many A responsible approach to risks is a crucial factor in KWS’ al a u d ito r sincrease sustainability. That is why KWS – in compliance control mechanisms. success, while our ability to identify opportunities quicklywith the German Corporate Governance Code – has estab- and leverage them over the long term ensures that we re-lished a comprehensive system for responsibility manage- The central point of contact for all matters relating to com- main successful. That is why KWS systematically analyzesment to assist all its employees in discharging and fulfilling pliance is the Corporate Law & Compliance department. and assesses both risks and opportunities.their responsibilities. It is based on five mainstays: It advises the business segments throughout the KWS Topical issues and recent events Group on legal matters, on regulations and rules of con- Risk management• Systematic risk management duct and controlling their observance, and also develops KWS has chosen a pragmatic risk management approach We extensively expanded our risk management system in• A comprehensive compliance system measures to enable that. An independent attorney can that reflects its organizational structure. The system moni- fiscal 2009/2010. It now meets the more stringent require-• An Integrated Management System for quality be reached at all times through our compliance hotline. tors, controls and documents the main risks, in particular ments of the German Accounting Law Modernization Act and the environment The Chief Compliance Officer informs employees about market changes, technology trends and changes in gener- (BilMoG) by ensuring that all significant risks are system-• A commitment to act responsibly toward humankind the latest issues and developments in training courses, at al political conditions. It is based on strategic planning and atically identified every year, examined, assessed as to the and the environment information events and workshops and with a Compliance investment controlling, continuous operational controlling likelihood of their occurring and their potential impact, do-• Communication with and transparency Newsletter. and the quality and process monitoring systems and cumented, controlled and monitored. In the course of this toward stakeholders The “Code of Business Ethics” and the policies based on is complemented by external audits performed by expe- expansion, more than 100 significant risks and means of it are crucial as a guide for employees in their everyday rienced specialists. controlling them were described. They were assessed withIn the future, a Sustainability Committee made up of key work. The sanctions to be expected if these policies are their individual likelihood of occurrence and potential levelfunction holders at KWS and the Executive Board member not abided by are expressly pointed out. The KWS Group’s Assessment of opportunities of damage. Their relevance is evaluated on the basis ofresponsible for the Integrated Management System “International Anti-Corruption Policy” defines the con- KWS identifies opportunities by means of unceasing obser- their effect on the KWS Group’s operating income (EBIT)will address all aspects of sustainability and related annual straints on accepting and giving presents and donations, vation of the market and intensive dialogue with customers, or specific qualitative indicators. The individual risks orobjectives. issuing invitations and paying for trips. As a publicly traded business partners and scientific institutions. The main process sections are assigned to persons who conduct company, KWS strictly ensures that insider information is opportunities arise from the rising global demand for food, controls and persons responsible for controls. In addition, not used for stock trading and regulates this aspect in an fodder and energy. The world’s growing population and manual and automated controls are set up for the identified insider policy. increasing prosperity in individual regions influence this glob- risks. The persons who conduct controls and are respon- al trend. sible for them use a newly established workflow to report Topical issues and recent events to the risk manager, Executive Board and Supervisory Board on the controls and their results and, if applicable, Since compliance is such a wide-ranging and complex on the measures that have been initiated. issue for an international company, a separate department was set up in September 2009 to focus on it along with Corporate Law. More information: www.kws.de/ir (Corporate Governance)10 Sustainability – Management with a Sense of Responsibility I 11
  7. 7. Dialogue with Stakeholders Plant Breeding Advisory BoardInternal and external dialogue is of great importance in Plant breeding up close Forum for dialogue, focusing on the assessment The pesticide industry and plant breeding will have toimplementing sustainability at KWS. We communicate In 2009 and 2010 KWS took part in a show garden project of the impact of technology adapt to changes in the regulatory framework in thewhat we do. As a result, our business activity is clear and for genetically modified plants in Üplingen, Saxony-Anhalt. The “Plant Breeding Advisory Board” already has a long coming years, including a decline in research into activetransparent at all levels and in all areas – for customers, In a comparison of plants grown with and without the use tradition and, as an external body advising KWS, is one of substances used to combat plant diseases and pests andconsumers and others as well. KWS’ dialogue is character- of genetic engineering, interested members of the public the most important institutions in our dialogue with stake- the patents applied for and granted. Plant breeding com-ized by maximum openness and trust in its partners. were able to learn more about the effects of diseases and holders. panies have the responsibility to continue modifying their pests on potatoes and corn and see the influence of weeds breeding programs for improving resistance to plant pestsTopical issues and recent events on the growth of sugarbeet plants. Such projects offer a Twice a year, questions and problems relating to the use and diseases to reflect these developments. direct, vivid means of helping people grasp and form a dif- of new technologies in agriculture are discussed with rep-Green genetic engineering ferentiated opinion on green genetic engineering. resentatives of the company, including members of theGenetically modified plants are now cultivated on a global Executive Board and external speakers. Various questions November 2009: Protection of intellectual propertyarea of 134 million hectares, a figure that is growing year Dialogue Forum are raised in an objective discourse at these meetings. in breeding: from economic requirements to ethics toby year. Despite that fact, the public discussion on green In May 2009 KWS initiated a Dialogue Forum in the Leine- Ethical, ecological, social, political, economic, technologi- social acceptancegenetic engineering remains controversial, at both the Solling region, where KWS provides up-to-date, compre- cal-scientific and normative assessments and interests are Plant variety right is the key tool by which plant breedingnational and European levels. We are therefore engaged hensive information on the most important questions for brought to light. The objective is to include different social companies can protect their new varieties. 95% of intellec-in an intensive social dialogue, guided by our maxim of the region and the company’s developments. At the same needs and perspectives, including decidedly critical views, tual property is covered by the plant variety right. Patentcreating the greatest possible transparency. time, KWS hopes to get to know the viewpoints and opin- in expanding the company’s knowledge and in its decision- law offers the possibility of protecting new methods and ions of participants in the Dialogue Forum so as to include making. key technologies. Both types of protection are importantSince the spring of 2008 the company has conducted them in its considerations and decisions. Three further and necessary, and coexistence between the two mustopen-air trials of genetically modified sugarbeet that is events have now been held. A description of the work and The suggestions and recommendations made by this body be ensured. Ideally, every breeder could use all genetictolerant to the herbicide Roundup® at various locations the results of the meetings in connection with the issues are of great relevance to KWS’ Executive Board. They help variations without restriction in the form of an open sourcein Germany (Wetze in Lower Saxony and Dreileben in of green genetic engineering and biogas can be found on support the company’s development and underpin its strat- model. At present, plant breeders in Europe are permittedSaxony-Anhalt). These trials were impeded by a small the Internet sites. This series of discussions is to be con- egies and are implemented at the company through appro- to use all approved varieties to develop new ones undergroup of opponents of green genetic engineering in tinued. The results of the Dialogue Forum gave rise to a priate activities. what is called the breeder’s exemption.2009 und 2010. Nevertheless, it was possible to harvest scientific colloquium for beekeepers held at KWS in Januarythe beet in all three years of the trial. At the same time, 2010. More than 90 beekeepers, scientists and national Topical issues and recent eventswe take every opportunity for dialogue with this experts discussed the latest results of biosafety research,technology’s opponents and do not avoid discussion. the potential effects of genetically modified plants on bees The Advisory Board convened three times in the period and honey, and legal considerations. under review.In 2008 Ilse Aigner, Federal Minister of Agriculture, andProfessor Dr. Annette Schavan, Federal Minister of Re- New newsletter November 2008: Plant breeding and biodiversity –search, launched the Genetic Engineering Round Table, The new newsletter “KWS in Dialogue – News for Decision- The conflict between preserving and using geneticcomprising representatives from science, business, associ- makers” has become a much respected source of informa- resourcesations and churches, to discuss the issue with different tion among representatives of business, politics and public Different approaches to preserving biodiversity are neededfocal areas in four sessions by the summer of 2010. They life since it first appeared in fiscal 2008/2009. Seven issues in the various regions and global centers of origin of impor-involved topics such as the role agricultural research can on the subjects of bioenergy, open-air trials, biodiversity, tant crops. The discussion focused on ethical questions,play in feeding the world. Representatives from KWS and genetic engineering, climate change and plant breeding for example the conditions under which genetic resourcesmembers of its Executive Board took part in the meetings. have since been published. The mailing list now numbers from less developed regions of the world can be used. more than 500 recipients. As a result of this meeting, the company strengthened itsOur CEO of many years and current Chairman of the activities in biodiversity projects (see page 21 of this report Subject of the Advisory Board’s next meeting:Supervisory Board, Dr. Dr. h.c. Andreas J. Büchting, was for more information). “Agricultural production is a global challenge”awarded the Arthur-Burkhardt-Prize in April 2010 in honorof his achievements in modern plant breeding in con- March 2009: Plant protection and breeding –junction with his transparent communication of the related New challenges for the futurefindings to society. Farmers suffer lower harvests and thus economic loss as a result of pest and diseases attacking the crops they grow. These factors impact the quantity and quality of the food produced and supplied in global markets. More information: More information: www.kws.de/nachhaltigkeit www.kws.de/nachhaltigkeit (Dialogue with Stakeholders) www.kws.de/gentechnik12 Sustainability – Management with a Sense of Responsibility I 13
  8. 8. Innovation and SustainabilityAgriculture supplies a growing number of people with food, fodder, renewable resources and energy. Organization of research and breedingHigh-quality seed and our crops’ high-performing varieties are at the beginning of every value chain KWS SAAT AG’s breeding departments are organized in a crop-specific structure. They have a broad pool of breedingin farming. We strive to deliver products that can be used for all kinds of agriculture: conventional far- material and a large network of breeding and trial stationsming, farming with genetically optimized plant varieties, and organic farming. in all the world’s moderate climatic zones. The breeders are assisted in developing varieties by service units, such as a chemical laboratory, departments for phytopathology or data processing to enable statistical analysis of the trials.Research and Breeding Market-oriented project planning and control The KWS Group runs its own breeding programs forThe goal of our research and breeding (R&D) is to develop The range of breeding methods has been continuously sugarbeet, corn, cereals, rapeseed, sorghum and energycompetitive plant varieties that enable efficient and resource- expanded and refined over time. Systematic influencing plants and repositioned itself in potato breeding with itssparing agriculture in the markets that are relevant for us. of genetic material by crossing selected parent plants 50:50 joint venture Van Rijn – KWS B.V. effective July 1,Our mission is to support all farmers with custom solutions and subsequent selection of their progeny began around 2008. KWS SAAT AG’s R&D projects are agreed on be- Every bag conceals a different genotypeand offer ideal varieties and expert advice for their opera- 150 years ago. In the meantime, the mix of methods used tween R&D management, the persons in charge of thetions. in modern plant breeding has grown significantly. Of great crop-specific breeding departments, and the segment Successes in breeding resistance importance for us is genome research, which analyzes management, which defines current market requirements The focus in sugarbeet breeding is not only on increasingOur strong commitment to research and development characteristics at the molecular level. New methods of and forecasts demand for varieties. yields, but also on continuously improving resistance tois the foundation of our business success. 1,448 em- molecular marker technology (diagnostics) and genetic major diseases and pests. Significant progress has beenployees worldwide work in R&D, over 100 of them in engineering can be derived from the results of genome As part of comprehensive reporting, development objec- made in this regard in recent years. Successes includeapplied biotechnology. The increase in yields for farmers research. These methods complement each other and are tives are defined, progress and the achievement of mile- nematode-tolerant varieties that have a very high perfor-who use the varieties KWS breeds is between 1% and not interchangeable (see figure). We use these genetic stones are regularly reviewed, and changes or adjustments mance potential whether they are infested by nematodes2% a year. engineering methods in breeding openly and transparently, are made to the individual programs and projects. The per- (threadworms) or not. Farmers are now able to plant vari- well aware of our responsibility. formance trends are compared with the annually reviewed eties that are tolerant to the Rhizomania virus and nematodesDevelopment of varieties for modern, breeding objectives from the segments and the targets without having to sacrifice yields. There are also similar de-sustainable agriculture defined by the overall company’s strategic planning every velopments underway in relation to the fungus Rhizoctonia.The concrete breeding objectives for our varieties are ori- two years. These findings form the basis for defining the Generally speaking, resistance breeding is especially im-ented toward farmers’ needs and must allow for the con- contents, budgets and structure of the R&D program. portant where pesticides run up against their limitations.ditions at the location and the regional climate. The goal Breeding scheme – how a variety is obtained In the near future, increasingly resistant varieties may alsois to achieve as high a yield as possible by developing pro- This breeding success is reflected in the number of annual reduce the amount of pesticides that need to be used.perties such as low-nutrient and drought tolerance and approvals for the distribution for new KWS varieties granted Gene resources with Traditional generesistance to diseases. We also take into account the qual- genetic engineering resources by the relevant authorities in the individual countries. Development of winter beetity requirements of processors and consumers and their Plants, bacteria, fungi, Plants KWS is also developing winter beet in a very long-term virus (across species) (only species-specific)demands for healthy food and fodder. Topical issues and recent events research project. However, this requires regulation of the Variation flowering time and an improvement in the beet’s tolerance Selection ofThe breeding work done on the plant depends on the type the parents KWS has increased its research budget by an average of to cold and frost. Consequently, it will take 10 to 15 yearsof pollination (self-pollination or cross-pollination) in accord- 6% per annum over the last ten years, one of the largest until the beet created using this research approach will beance with defined methods that are updated to reflect the figures reported by any international seed company. KWS’ ready for the market. 8 – 10 years Prototypes Crossing Markerslatest scientific and technical knowledge. Partnerships with expenditure on research in fiscal years 2008/2009 andpublic and private research institutes worldwide are a core 2009/2010 totaled around € 89.5 and 97.5 million respec- Another long-term project is one involving analysis ofelement of our R&D activities. Testing tively, a year-on-year increase of 8.9%. KWS’ success in the genes from various wild beet populations that could Years, locations, Yield, resistance, R&D is reflected in the number of distribution approvals for increase breeding progress. repetitions quality new varieties in the last two years. In fiscal year 2009/2010, Selection Selection 120 sugarbeet, 109 corn, 35 cereal and 10 varieties of other crops (a total of 274 worldwide) were registered. Official testing New variety14 Innovation and Sustainability I 15
  9. 9. Growing importance of corn form of cell service, molecular genetic analyses and the Determining quality in breedingCorn has the world’s largest cultivation area of all the crops application of genetic engineering methods to the various In 2009 KWS’ researchers developed a new method ofin KWS’ portfolio – and that area continues to grow, among segments of KWS. analyzing the constituents of sugarbeet varieties based onother things because corn is used as a raw material for measurements in the near-infrared spectrum of naturalproducing bioenergy. KWS’ varieties dominate the German Apart from biotechnology methods that do not result in light. The main parameter in determining the quality ofmarket. The company also conducts regional development any change to the genome (e.g. marker technology), we sugarbeet varieties is sugar content. This can now be as-programs in France, Southeastern Europe, South America also pursue genetic engineering approaches, primarily certained directly during harvesting thanks to near-infraredand the U.S. so as to be able to provide farmers in those for sugarbeet and corn. The most successful genetic spectroscopy (NIRS). The NIRS technology has beenregions with varieties that are adapted to the location, engineering project to date was the development of the installed on the new sugarbeet lifter PUMA. PUMA will behave the appropriate maturity groups and offer a high yield Roundup Ready® sugarbeet, which has been on the used in the future to assess the sugarbeet bred on up topotential. KWS’s current breeding activities also include American market since 2007. Genetically modified varieties 40,000 trial plots. The costs of the customary methods ofprograms aimed at increasing corn’s resistance to abiotic now account for 28.3% of the KWS Group’s net sales. determining sugar content in laboratories, which necessi-(dry and cold stress) and biotic factors (e.g. fungal diseases Through its American subsidiary BETASEED, KWS offers tate storing sugarbeet beet samples at –20°C, the use ofsuch as Fusarium and Helminthosporium). One further farmers in the U.S. and Canada this genetically modified, chemicals and subsequent purification of waste water, canfocus is the breeding of corn varieties for organic farming. herbicide-tolerant sugarbeet seed, and demand for it thus be eliminated. In addition, NIRS technology is also remains unbroken. These beets are now grown on around used for determining the quality of the constituents of corn,Breeding quality wheat 500,000 ha, or some 95% of the area used for sugarbeet cereals and oil and field seed.What counts in wheat breeding is to offer varieties that are cultivation in North America. By growing these varieties,high-yielding and healthy in every quality category, from farmers can control weeds – one of the biggest challenges Large number of cooperation projects“baking quality” to “fodder.” That is true for barley, too, in sugarbeet cultivation in North America – in a more envi- In addition to KWS’ own and bilateral research activities,although the key aspect in this case is its brewing quality. ronmentally friendly way. In January 2008, four interest KWS’ scientists are also cooperating in a large numberRye is typically grown in locations with poorer conditions, groups in the U.S. initiated legal action against the US of research projects with several partners (universitiesso yield stability is especially important. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding the approval and public and private research institutes). One example A lifter with NIRS technology means sugar content can be deter- procedure for herbicide-tolerant sugarbeet in the U.S. is GABI (Genome Analysis in the Biological System of mined directly when sugarbeet is harvested.Greater use of biotechnology and genetic engineering Although the court denied the request for an injunction on the Plant), a genome research initiative funded by theKWS strives to use biotechnology methods to a greater growing Roundup Ready® sugarbeet, it made approval German Federal Ministry for Education and Research. It Establishment of breeding stations –extent in all its breeding programs. Marker technology is for this variety contingent on submission of environmental is organized in the WPG association (Wirtschaftsverbund tapping new marketsalready making a crucial contribution to enabling early impact statements by the relevant authorities. The U.S. Pflanzengenomforschung GABI e.V.) and brings together It is especially important for a global seed company likeidentification of desirable plant traits by means of genome Secretary of Agriculture has announced that further cultiva- 30 companies from the fields of plant breeding, pesticide KWS to take regional circumstances into account whenanalyses. The resultant increase in the efficiency of breed- tion will initially be enabled under an interim arrangement. production, the processing industry and biotechnology, breeding new varieties. The inauguration of the new breed-ing processes supports pinpointed channeling of re- including KWS SAAT AG and subsidiaries and associated ing station in Lipetzk, Russia, on July 8, 2010, is a goodsources and thus indirectly helps protect the environment. The main goal of newer genetic engineering approaches companies. example of how the company addresses these require- is to increase plants’ resistance to diseases, pests and Together with research partners from universities, Max ments. Sugarbeet, corn, cereals, rapeseed, potatoes andKWS has an in-house Biotechnology Competence and Re- negative environmental influences. In this way, the use of Planck Institutes and other large research establishments sunflower are grown in one of KWS’ largest stations, somesearch Center that has been a key provider of breeding pesticides can be reduced and yield stability increased. such as IPK Gatersleben (Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics 400 km south of Moscow. KWS has thus laid the ground-services for 26 years and is responsible for the company’s In 2010, KWS and BASF Plant Science began working to- and Crop Plant Research), research has been conducted work for supplying Russia’s agricultural industry with evenown research activities. The scientists and technical em- gether to develop sugarbeet with a greater yield and better since 2000 into the genetic and molecular processes of the higher-yielding varieties adapted to local conditions. Inployees at this unit provide their scientific know-how in the resistance to stress. As of 2020, plans call for new varieties most important agronomic properties, including yield and addition to Eastern Europe, the Chinese seed market plays to be available for the global market and to enable farmers resistance to diseases. This work has created the basis a major role in KWS’ strategic planning. KWS has nurtured to increase yields by 15%. of further research (e.g. the first genomic DNA sequence of good business relationships with China since the 1970s sugarbeet) and also addresses concrete questions (e.g. and in 2010 established a new subsidiary for breeding corn the cold tolerance of corn). The findings are systematically there. used to develop varieties. This continuing cooperation be- tween industry and academia has evolved into a success- ful model of a public-private partnership.Analysis of genetic properties with cutting-edge diagnosticsin the lab16 Innovation and Sustainability I 17
  10. 10. Organic Farming Organic farming operations make special demands regard- Preservation of field peas ing the seed and varieties of our crops. Organic farming Since 2010 KWS has conducted selection trials with field differs from conventional agriculture in that nitrogen is peas on these areas to enable it to offer varieties that offer available later in the vegetation period. A key aspect of high long-term performance for this crop, which is such an breeding varieties for organic farming is therefore nutrient important element of organic farming. Grain legumes play efficiency. Other main breeding objectives in this field are a major role in ecological crop rotation. They have the spe- competitive ability against weeds and resistance to seed- cial ability to fix nitrogen via their root system and its nodule borne diseases. bacteria and thus to improve the supply of nutrients to the plants. Nitrogen is one of the basic nutrients required for KWS currently markets organic seed for sugarbeet, field plant growth and is provided in organic farming by means and oilseed, corn, field peas and cereals. Since 2002 KWS of this cycle. has had its own organic farm for conducting trials on an area of 480 ha. This farm is a member of the growers as- Specialist events sociation Anbauverband Naturland, and its operations are In 2009 KWS launched a regular event for organic farm- run in compliance with the applicable guidelines and con- ing in order to establish close and intensive dialogue on trolled regularly. Breeding trials, national variety trials, current issues between the company and customers in experiments in seed treatment and planting considerations the organic farming sector. The kickoff event addressed and demonstration fields are integrated in the customary the subject of “Plant Breeding: Perspectives for Organic crop rotation of the Wiebrechtshausen monastery estate. farming.” Many organic farmers, representatives of growers Regular field days, such as the Organic Sugarbeet Day, associations, state institutes and chambers of agricultural Organic Rapeseed Day or Organic Potato Day, and other commerce took up the invitation. The second event isKeeping an eye on how the new harvest is coming along. informational events permit an intensive dialogue with our planned for 2011, when the focal issues will include quality customers who farm organically. KWS is developing alter- assurance in seed production and the status of and per- native seed technologies in cooperation with research spectives for legume breeding.Strategy for international patent and Less need for pesticide by breeding resistant varieties partners, since the seed used in organic farming cannotvariety protection for all units A core concern of KWS’ research is to reduce the use of be dressed using synthetic chemical agents. Project days for school classesIt is becoming more and more important for the company pesticides in agriculture by breeding resistant varieties. For two years now, the family of our site manager has of-to protect breeding and research results, in particular so However, pesticides are vital in the early phase of breeding Topical issues and recent events fered project days for primary schools with the assistanceas to ensure it remains competitive. Obtaining patents and work to develop environmentally friendly varieties. Thanks of the Lower Saxony Country Women’s Association inproperty rights for varieties is therefore embedded in an to careful and selective use of chemical and biological Use of organically farmed areas for breeding Northeim. This initiative was extended to include studentsinternational strategy covering all units. The Industrial Prop- preparations, mother and father components are produced Since 2008 we have also been breeding corn varieties in from Northeim Gymnasium (High School) in the summererty Rights department, which is responsible for patenting as inbred lines in the nursery. As a result of this special trials on organically farmed areas so as to be able to of 2010.and plant variety right, ensures that proprietary rights are breeding method, these purebred lines exhibit the phe- select plants for their suitability in organic farming underapplied for, defended and enforced. It also monitors third- nomenon of inbreeding depression, due to which they are these cultivation conditions.party property rights so that the risk of infringements can often weak-growing and prone to many diseases. In thebe ruled out at an early stage. KWS plays an active part next stage, these inbred lines are crossed to produce hy-in the discussion regarding the right balance between intel- brid varieties that have excellent performance and resi-lectual property protection and broad-based access. stance properties and can contribute later to reducing the use of pesticides in large-scale cultivation in the market. More information: www.kws.de (Innovation) More information: www.kws.de/gentechnik www.kws.de/nachhaltigkeit www.kws.de/produkte www.kws.de/oeko18 Innovation and Sustainability I 19

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