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Plant breeding for sustainable agriculture

At KWS, our research and breeding work aims to develop products to precisely meet farmers’ requirements. Our innovative solutions range from high-yielding plant varieties to digital tools that support both conventional and organic farming. We support farmers to sustainably grow crops adapted to their particular climate and soil conditions while increasing yields and reducing the use of crop protection products.

Delivering these solutions requires continuously engaging in extensive research and breeding work. Whether in one of our laboratories, out in the field or in an office, innovation at KWS takes place in a wide variety of locations and draws on a broad range of skills. Discover the rich diversity of our research and development work and learn how we help shape the future of agriculture.

Everything people do shapes the future.With regard to our work, this is true now more than ever.
Harold Verstegen, Head of Global Product Development Sugar Beet & Cereals

Learn more about the basics of plant breeding

Plant breeding involves a lengthy process: A new variety takes an average of eight to 12 years to develop and entails various breeding methods. At KWS, we pursue a range of breeding goals depending on the type of crop, but the end result is always the same: a new variety adapted to the specific environmental conditions of the seed’s target market.

Our current key research and development figures


average headcount


in 2022/23


35,7 %
relative to the total workforce


€ million in 2022/23
€ million in 2021/22


17,3 %
in 2022/23

Become part of our worldwide R&D network

A global presence with regional know-how: We maintain a global network of research and breeding sites in nearly 70 countries where we develop high-performing varieties adapted to specific regional needs.

Hover over the map to meet R&D employees at some of our locations and learn more about their work:

Julio Cerono, Senior breeder corn, Chivilcoy, Argentina
“The most challenging and yet most rewarding part of my job is having the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of farmers and their families by aiming to develop better corn hybrids that offer greater crop security with a higher yield and less need to use agrochemicals. In doing this, I’m directly involved in the joint effort to build a more sustainable future for the society I live in and share with others.”
Clark Jett, Research Associate Gene Editing & Molecular Biology, St. Louis, Missouri, United States
“I enjoy that, at KWS, you can come to anyone with question, no matter their title, and they will happily engage with you in a conversation to either answer your question or identify the right person to answer your question. As someone who is relatively new to the industry setting, this is very important. Everyone is very passionate about science, and it fosters a very welcoming and innovative work culture.”
Fátima Montiel, Breeder corn, Córdoba, Argentina
“Every decision a breeder makes has an impact on the future. We develop the seeds that farmers will use for years — or even decades — into the future. The goal provides as much a sense of meaning as it does a sense of responsibility: Produce seeds that feed the world. This means filling your work with passion, expanding and deepening your knowledge of genetics, improving understanding of the environment and committing yourself to achieving a genetic advantage in every new breeding attempt — an advantage that improves harvests in a sustainable approach to agriculture.”
Kristóf Poór, Assistant breeder sunflower, Hungary
“If you’re enthusiastic about breeding, you’re in the right place at KWS where you’re surrounded by colleagues who have the same sense of resolve concerning agriculture. Our passion for breeding sunflowers drives us to overcome every challenge we face along the way. It may be that many farmers in many countries will end up growing one of our hybrids and it will play an important role in the food chain.”
Andreas Gertz, Breeder oilseed rape – continental zone and catch crops, Einbeck, Germany.
“I’m really fascinated by plants and plant genetics and find it very exciting to observe how certain plant properties both remain constant over generations and can be newly combined in subsequent generations. I also like the fact that you can’t fully predict breeding results and you have to pour all your effort and knowledge into achieving (in the best case) the desired result. I don’t really like playing chess; I prefer games involving a certain amount of chance while still offering enough room to apply your own abilities.”
Silke Wieckhorst, Group lead breeding technologies maize and oilseed crops, Einbeck, Germany.
“I love working with my group to provide support for our corn, sorghum and sunflower breeding programs with modern breeding technologies — and seeing how traditional breeding coupled with breeding technologies can accelerate and improve the process of developing market-competitive products. I like our team spirit as well as the trustful, respectful way we work together at KWS. The diversity of what I do at work and being part of an international team is very motivating and make me happy to come to work every day.”
Jocelyn Turner, Research Associate Insect Resistance, St. Louis, Missouri, United States
"I enjoy working in the lab, finding and refining new ideas that improve the efficiency of our insect lab tests. Although my work is of course only a small part, the opportunity to work for a global seed specialist means for me that I have a hand in helping feed the world population.”
Vania Portes Kulka, Breeder tropical Maize, Ponta Grossa, Brazil
"Breeders need passion, knowledge and energy. It's hard work that takes years. But I simply enjoy seeing the entire development of a new variety - from the first lines to the finished hybrid plants. For that, I like to plan all the steps in the office. But I enjoy going out into the field even more."

Your contact

Picture of Nora Wehner
Nora Wehner
Contact person for Breeding, Research and Biotechnology
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