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April 6, 2012

Embrapa Expands Research in Improving Seed Technology

Even though soybean yields in Brazil have equaled or surpassed those in the United States during three of the past four years, Brazilian researchers are not slowing their efforts to continually increase soybean yields. Embrapa, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, recently inaugurated a new series of research laboratories at its National Center for Soybean Research located in Londrina, Parana with the goal of improving seed technology.

The new facilities are part of the Seed and Grain Technology Center and the new research facilities will be part of a concentrated effort on improving seed technology, seed treatments and training for seed technologists. Brazil is already considered a leader in tropical seed production and Embrapa wants to build further on that success. Embrapa has been a pioneer in developing vigor tests and quality tests for soybean seeds as well as developing an Integrated Pest Management System for Stored Seeds and Grains adapted to tropical conditions.

One of the lead researchers, Jose de Barros Franca Neto, reiterated the fact the use of high quality seed is the bases for high productivity. More than 2,500 people have been trained in testing seed quality and seed vigor and in management of storage pests. The new complex will be comprised of four laboratories: for Chemical and Biological Molecular Seed Studies, Post-Harvest Seeds and Grains, Seed Pathology, Seed Physiology and Seed Technologies

Embrapa also continues to be active in developing new soybean varieties as well. They have cooperated with BASF to develop an alternative to Roundup Ready soybeans that will be available for planting in 2012/13. This new technology would be helpful for farmers who have Roundup resistant weeds in their soybean fields. Embrapa has also expanded their efforts to continue developing non-GMO soybean varieties that can be grown in Brazil and sold to clients who want non-GMO products.

These non-GMO soybeans are grown primarily in western Mato Grosso where the grain can be kept separate from GMO varieties as they are exported out of Brazil via ports on the Amazon River.