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Breeder Royalties

Funding the Australian Soybean Breeding Program

The Australian Soybean Breeding Program is funded by a joint partnership comprising the GRDC, CSIRO and NSW DPI. Implicit in the breeding program is the undertaking that all new varieties will be protected under the Plant Breeder’s Right (PBR) Act 1994 and that these varieties will have an end-point royalty applied in order to develop a revenue stream for the continuation of the breeding program. The aim of the partners is to move the breeding program to a self funding basis. The soybean industry agreed in 2007 that the breeding program needed to develop a revenue stream if it was to be sustainable in the future.

As a commercial partner in the Australian Soybean Breeding Program, Soy Australia, has agreed to manage and collect end-point royalties on existing and new soybean varieties for which it is a licensee.

PBR was introduced to encourage the development of new varieties by providing for those breeders and other parties investing in the breeding program the opportunity to recoup some of their investment.  In simple terms, PBR can be seen as the seed version of patents or copyright.

Breeding new varieties can take up to 14 years from the initial recognition of potential new germplasm to the commercial release of a new variety. Soybean breeding could be considered as a funnel or a distillation vessel, a large number of potential candidates enter the program but most are selected out as they progress through the stages and only a very few actually exit the program as new commercial varieties. In all, soybean breeding requires a high level of investment and a high level of risk for commercial companies.

End-point royalties are the method in which the breeders and commercial partners can recoup this investment and are a way for growers to continue to contribute to the development of new varieties and the sustainability of the breeding program.

End-point royalties is a payment made by the grower to use the licensed variety, and as the name suggests it is based on production of harvested grain and is paid when the harvested seed is sold by the grower. One of the main benefits of EPR is that it shares the risk of crop production between the breeder, the commercial partner and the grower.

Since January, 2013 all Soy Australia varieties sold have an end-point royalty.

More details about end-point royalties can be found on the Variety Central website.