ST. LOUIS, Jan. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Monsanto's annual research and development update highlighted record project advancement across the company's breeding, biotechnology, and improved agronomics platforms, all aimed at sustainably maximizing farmer productivity while conserving resources like water and land. Through integrated research in breeding, biotechnology, and new technology areas such as Integrated Farming Systems SM and agricultural biologicals, Monsanto is focused on offering farmers the best possible system of products to optimize the performance of their crops each growing season. This systems approach focuses on delivering multiple solutions for farmers to combat the challenges they face, using fewer inputs, while ensuring the solutions work together to maximize total yield potential. "In this record year for our pipeline, we added next-generation agronomic trait solutions, advanced our work in the unique space of yield and stress with the launch of Genuity® DroughtGard™ Hybrids, advanced breeding projects that combat yield-reducing pests and diseases, and also added projects in our newest area, agricultural biologicals," said Robb Fraley, Ph.D., Monsanto chief technology officer. "With our diverse and expanding pipeline of solutions, we'll be able to deliver additional innovations to meet the needs of our customers in a sustainable way." In addition to the 18 project advancements, Monsanto has three projects in its Ground Breakers® on-farm testing program. Ground Breakers®, a testing program that informs the company's commercial decisions and gives farmers a firsthand look at future products in their fields, continues Intacta RR2 PRO™ in Brazil, and added Roundup Ready® 2 Xtend soybeans (field trials under permit) and FieldScripts℠ under Integrated Farming Systems℠ in the United States. Biotechnology PlatformMonsanto has a pipeline of exciting products in development, including yield and stress work in collaboration with BASF Plant Science, as well as next-generation insect control, designed to minimize yield risk and take production to a whole new level. This year's advancements are comprised of eight projects, including the launch of Genuity® DroughtGard™ Hybrids, developed in collaboration with BASF. This drought-tolerant corn system is designed to enhance yield stability when water is limited, providing farmers in tough environmental conditions with an opportunity to improve yield and consistency. Breeding PlatformMonsanto's breeding program draws from a diverse genetic germplasm collection that is unparalleled in the industry. Combined with an extensive global testing program, an understanding of biotechnology traits and advanced breeding tools like molecular markers and seed chippers, these components help plant breeders deliver new and improved hybrids and varieties faster and with higher yield potential than ever before. In addition to annual germplasm improvements, this year's breeding pipeline advanced four projects, including the launch of phytophthora root rot resistant soybeans which targets the second most significant soybean disease in the United States, with an average yield loss of 44 million bushels per year. Agricultural Biologicals PlatformWithin Monsanto's agricultural biologicals platform, researchers are working on targeted and effective products for weed, insect, and virus control that could maximize growers' yield potential. Monsanto's first technology under agricultural biologicals is BioDirect™. The company's two BioDirect™ projects in virus control and insect control would offer farmers protection from virus and insects across a wide variety of crops. Monsanto's BioDirect™ technology glyphosate-resistant weed control would target glyphosate-resistant weeds and provide a broader spectrum of control. Agronomic Solutions PlatformMonsanto featured two advancements in its agronomic solutions platform that are designed to provide farmers with multiple solutions to combating weeds and multiple nematode species that impair productivity. Nematicide chemistry would provide farmers with control against nematode species in a wide variety of crops. The company also advanced its improved dicamba formulation, which would provide farmers with an additional tool for weed management, to the final phase before commercialization. The following is a complete list of the 18 projects advancing phases in 2013.