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New traits coming from seed companies will help with moisture, fertilization and chemicals

Posted Monday, October 31, 2011, at 2:29 PM

As you start planning for next year's crop, producers need to know what new traits may be available or will be available in the future to use in their management plants. By knowing what may be available to manage current and future needs, the producer can evaluate current practices and challenges to plan better for future crops.

Seed companies are working on ways to better use what water is available. Dow Agrosciences is working on drought resistance using natural genetics that provide better performance under drought conditions and with transgenic solutions. Monsanto is co-developing drought-tolerant corn with BASF and is in the later stages of development. The first generation product, primarily for the western Great Plains on dryland acres, is undergoing large-scale testing and is awaiting global regulatory approval. On-farm trials are expected to begin in 2012. The second-generation product from Monsanto is geared to the central Corn-Belt and will offer yield stability for intermittent drought. Syngenta introduced Agrisure Artesian technology, its water-optimized line, in 2011 with one hybrid in limited quantities. Syngenta reports up to 15% yield preservation under moderate to severe moisture stress. The Artesian technology relies on native traits developed through a very precise gene blueprinting process. Pioneer's Optimum Aquamax products, their first hybrids for water-limited environments, entered the market in a limited launch in 2011. Pioneer's next-generation drought tolerance product will include a transgenic approach and should launch mid to late decade. These products will combine native and transgenic traits to further enhance tolerance to drought stress during specific growth stages.

Another common target for future hybrid development is better nitrogen utilization. Dow AgroSciences is working on nitrogen utilization efficiency to improve yields either with the same amount of nitrogen or possibly reduce some of the nitrogen use and maintain high yields. They have some products in the early stages of development but products won't be available for a number of years. Monsanto and BASF are collaborating on nitrogen utilization trait development but no timeline is projected. Syngenta is working on nitrogen utilization but is further out in the pipeline. Pioneer is in the early stages of development in its' nitrogen-use efficiency research.

Pioneer is evaluating how transgenic events utilize nitrogen in different environments to find an event or gene that will effectively influence a corn plant's ability to maintain yield with less nitrogen or enhance yield with the same nitrogen. Hybrids from this research are predicted to not be available until the end of the decade.

All companies are recognizing the importance of herbicide technology. Dow AgroSciences's Enlist Weed Control System, pending regulatory approval, should be available in 2013. It will provide tolerance to both 2,4-D and FOP (ACCace inhibitors) herbicides in corn. Monsanto has Dicamba- and glufosinate-tolerance hybrids on the horizon. Monsanto is also considering a product tolerant to FOPs. Bayer CropSciences is working with Monsanto and Pioneer Hi-Bred to ensure that LibertyLink is part of each company's refuge -in-a-bag concept.

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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.
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