Some sunflower in your wheat?

Have you heard of HB4? It’s not a grade of pencil, but a genetic brand-name for a stack of traits which, among other things, renders crops drought-tolerant with transferred sunflower genes.

Over the past couple of years HB4 Soya has been approved in nations that collectively grow 80% of that crop, though uptake to date has been limited largely because China has yet to approve imports of resulting grain.

Now HB4 wheat, which owner Bioceres says has, on average, out-yielded conventional strains by 20% in drought-stress trials over the past decade, has been approved in Argentina.

“Regulatory processes” for the wheat are also “advancing” in the United States, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia, it says, with plans to seek approval in Australia, Russia and certain Asian and African nations. Unsurprisingly, New Zealand’s not on the list.