Monsanto may begin field testing genetically modified wheat over the next couple of years, but is cautious about future commercialization, according to a top wheat technology executive.

Monsanto Co., St. Louis, is looking at testing genetically modified wheat six years after shelving an earlier biotech wheat product due to a lackluster market reception. But while the company still sees a need for circumspection, it believes that building acceptance and a need for increased food production makes the wheat seed market potentially lucrative in the long run.

Currently, biotech wheat is not on the market because of opposition from consumers and the food industry. A top wheat technology executive at Monsanto says the firm sees these attitudes are changing somewhat and says the time is right for a development program.

According to an exclusive report from Reuters, several rival seed companies also are working on developing genetically modified wheat. Monsanto says it plans to employ genetic modification to develop a higher yielding, more drought and stress-tolerant crop.