Limited New Corn Traits in This Decade
Kaehler said, “Our other products after Enlist will include some agronomic traits. We have some interesting events for nitrogen utilization as well as water utilization.”
He suggested the 40-year success of N-Serve, nitrogen stabilizer, has given the company insight into nitrogen use by corn, and “now we are looking to take that same knowledge and put it into the plants.”
As for insect protection concepts, Kaehler contends the company is a leader partly because “we have the largest Bt library of any company in the world ... We are looking for the next generation, next evolution for controlling insects by way of the seed.”
It is Kaehler’s contention that by 2020, Dow AgroSciences will still be talking about SmartStax, Herculex and Enlist as the leaders in the industry for their segments of business with farmers.
Tim Zurliene, Bayer CropScience, global corn and soybean trait licensing and management lead, talked about how the acquisition of Athenix allowed the company to become primary in traits discovery and a provider to the corn seed industry.
Bayer through the former Athenix and its connection with seed companies through a joint venture of global seed companies is bringing new traits to the market. The venture is in line to introduce a new glyphosate tolerance trait. As Zurliene explained, “Roundup Ready has the leading position today, but the way to capture some of that value and revenue as a seed company is to have your own proprietary trait.”
Bayer does not own a corn seed company although its Liberty Link herbicide tolerance trait has been in the market for more than a decade for corn and soybeans. Today, Liberty Link is in every corn seed that contains Herculex and/or Bt11 insect control traits.
“We do not have a branded corn seed business on a global basis as of today,” said Zurliene. “But we do have strong competencies in several areas as a trait supplier and partner.”
He noted competencies in seed traits that provide control against lepidoptera, coleoptera and hemiptera insects. Additionally, the company has strong knowledge for nematode control and herbicide tolerance.
Zurliene contends that some companies backed off aggressive investment in insect traits research a few years ago but now have ramped up this research. “The conventional wisdom five years ago was that there was little need for more Bt research; there were great lepidopteraand coleoptera-control products doing quite well in the fields.”