Limited New Corn Traits in This Decade
Optimum Leptra will be introduced next year in limited launch. It is a product that provides three above ground insect protection traits—Herculex I, YieldGuard Corn Borer and Agrisure Viptera. This means it will have multiple modes of action against a broad spectrum of above-ground pests, including corn borers, fall armyworm and corn earworm.
“We are really targeting this product to growers in the South who need a superior solution for corn earworm and fall armyworm, and that is exactly what Optimum Leptra does,” Mayberry said.
“We are looking at multiple modes of herbicide tolerance for post applications on corn,” which he said are in the early development/advanced development phase. “These products are several years from commercialization but look to provide additional solutions to our customers.”
A drought tolerance second generation product is in development. “We are building off the cornerstone of what we have accomplished with AquaMax, which was initially for customers in the Western Corn Belt, and has migrated for use in the central and eastern parts of corn-growing areas,” he noted.
Nitrogen use efficiency corn is also on the radar for Pioneer, but even though it is one that customers want as much as any product, such a corn is in early phase development. Mayberry said, “I think such corn is a way that we can live up to our core value of environmental stewardship by applying less fertilizer to corn and producing the same or more bushels.”
Ben Kaehler, Dow AgroSciences, U.S. Seeds general manager, notes the emphasis that the company has placed on new hybrids and finding results from conventional breeding and biotech traits.
“Over the last five or six years, Dow AgroSciences has doubled down on our corn breeding program. We have doubled the number of our breeding locations, corn breeders and yield trials, and we are continuing to invest significantly in our genetic research,” Kaehler said.
There is big excitement within the company around introducing the Enlist Weed Control System, which is corn with tolerance to Enlist Duo herbicide, a proprietary blend of glyphosate and new 2,4-D choline, also developed by the company.
Planned commercial introduction of Enlist corn has been moved from 2014 to 2015 because of the United States Department of Agriculture’s requirement for an Environmental Impact Statement.
“When we launch Enlist corn in 2015, pending regulatory approvals, it will be stacked with SmartStax or stacked with Roundup Ready corn,” Kaehler said. “SmartStax with Enlist will give a full complement of insect control plus tolerance to Enlist Duo herbicide, or growers will have the option of hybrids with just herbicide tolerance.”