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Seed choices are multiplying, becoming more complicatedPosted Friday, December 17, 2010, at 2:09 PM
Seed choices are multiplying as seed companies are incorporating various traits and combination of traits into their hybrids.
Monsanto has announced that it will have 50 to 60 SmartStax hybrids available in 2011 through its Dekalb and seed-partner brands. Monsanto expects to have more than 100 SmartStax hybrids in 2010.
Dow AgroSciences, the other biotech company developing the SmartStax system, also is expanding hybrids available with the traits in both its Mycogen in-house brand and with seed-partner companies.
Pioneer recently received a two-year extension from the Environmental Agency on its Optimum AcreMax, refuge-in-a-bag products; which has 90 percent Herculex XTRA Bt seed and 10 percent Herculex 1 (corn borer) seed as a corn rootworm refuge; AcreMax RW, which has 90 percent Herculex RW and 10 percent herbicide-tolerant seed with no Bt traits, used in areas where corn borer traits are not desired.
Syngenta will have the initial Viptera 3111 trait in more than 20 percent of its corn portfolio, making it the largest new trait launch ever for the company. The 3111 version carries the same traits as Agrisure 3000GT seeds, plus the new Vip3A trait for secondary insects such as corn earworm, black cutworm and the recently troublesome western bean cutworm. Syngenta is also releasing a limited number of its Agrisure Artesian hybrids, which have been bred for better yield under dry conditions. The seeds are not genetically engineered, but developed using conventional breeding techniques
Another concern associated with the seed choices for 2011 is the plethora of corn insect refuge requirements that growers must track. There are three potential refuge-size requirements for corn borer and corn rootworm in most of the Corn Belt; the 20 percent refuge for familiar brands such as Herculex, YieldGard, and Agrisure, including the new Agrisure Viptera hybrids; 10 percent in-bag refuge for Pioneer's Optimum AcreMax seed; and 5 percent for the SmartStax-labeled seeds.
To help sort through the various refuge requirements, Agricultural Biotechnology Stewardship Technical Committee (ABSTC) and the National Corn Growers released a downloadable Insect Refuge Management Calculator, available at www.irmcalculator.com.
The calculator uses state and county information to regionalize the refuge requirements. The user then specifies trait categories and specific trait product. The user then indicates fields, acres and seeding rates and the calculator then indicates how many seed units of traited and refuge seed are needed. The calculator also produces planting configurations that can achieve the proper refuge requirements.
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As our local University of Missouri Agronomy Extension Specialist, Crook has been writing a column for the print edition Agriculture page for the past three years and we will now be sharing it on our web version. Crook has a bachelor and masters degree in agronomy from University of Missouri and received his doctorate in Agronomy from Kansas State University. He was in soybean variety development research for 22 years for various seed companies and has been Saline County's agronomy specialist for 10 years.