The second annual AgProfessional Readers' Choice 2008 New Product of the Year Award goes to Pioneer Hi-Bred's Y Series soybeans. In online voting at, the new Pioneer soybeans easily captured the majority of votes-57 percent of the total votes cast.

Voters agreed with Pioneer Hi-Bred's contention that the company's new Y Series soybeans have the potential to impact soybean production dramatically, and the company has done a good job explaining it. According to the company, "The introduction of the new Y Series soybeans represents the largest volume of commercial production launched in the 82-year history of Pioneer."

The company has suggested that these soybeans "will deliver unprecedented productivity gains to North American soybean growers." The DuPont business announced the "step-change" in soybean yield potential in July 2008 and said 32 new Y Series soybeans would be available for 2009 planting. The company reported the entire line of new beans in field trials had demonstrated a 5 percent yield advantage over competitive varieties with some achieving a 10 percent advantage.

"The Y Series soybeans are a step toward Pioneer's goal to increase soybean yields by 40 percent in the next 10 years," emphasized Jerry Harrington, sales and marketing public relations manager.

Award for Potential
Voting for the 2008 Readers' Choice Award was not linked to what a company's product has accomplished but its potential for impact on the agricultural industry and the amount of news and information disseminated about the product. Readers were asked to vote for the top product based on innovation and potential impact evaluating information provided in AgProfessional magazine and online.

A total of 10 new products were selected by the editors of AgProfessional as Editors' Choice New Product of the Year Award winners.

The second and third place reader choices were Highway Equipment's New Leader MultiBin Spreader (15 percent of the vote) and Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans (12 percent of the vote). Obviously the three top vote-getters outpaced the other seven products dramatically-84 percent of the total vote went to one of the top three.

The other seven new products in the running were AutoFarm's Reflex Technology, Belt insecticide from Bayer CropScience, Hemisphere GPS's patents of new systems, LibertyLink soybeans from Bayer CropScience, John Deere's new line of Nutrient Applicators, Orion cereal herbicide from Syngenta and Prosaro cereals fungicide from Bayer CropScience.

News During 2008
Pioneer in announcing its Y Series soybeans explained how the new seeds had been developed. "The launch of the new Y Series is the result of a proprietary matrix of traits and technologies Pioneer researchers have been developing and deploying to accelerate product development. Pioneer is employing its exclusive Accelerated Yield Technology (AYT) and marker-assisted selection to boost the yield potential and improve the agronomic performance of these varieties," according to the company.

In developing the Y Series soybeans, Pioneer researchers identified and incorporated new proprietary molecular markers into its soybean research program. The marker-assisted selection program has helped Pioneer select for such traits in the Y Series as resistance to soybean cyst nematode, Phytophthora root rot and brown stem rot.

Markers to select for resistance to three additional common yield-destroying soybean pests are being used for future soybean products; those pests are Asian soybean rust, soybean aphids and frogeye leaf spot.

Pioneer has also unveiled its laser-assisted seed selection tool. The laser assist selection is being touted as considerably speeding up the development of higher-yielding corn and soybeans because it allows rapid selection of the best genetic seed. A carbon-dioxide laser scores a small slice from a seed to capture its genetic information while maintaining the seed's viability for planting. The main emphasis of laser-assist currently is corn, but soybeans are on the table for more use of the technology.

The most recent announcement on Y Series soybeans was the release of three new low linolenic soybean seed products for 2009 planting. Many soybean growers have potential outlets for selling low linolenic soybeans used in healthy diet products, and the growers could earn cash premiums for such beans.

Official Recognition
Each of AgProfessional's Editors' Choice award winners are receiving plaques to commemorate their selection, and Pioneer additionally will also receive a plaque recognizing it as the top vote recipient Readers' Choice award winner.

The recognition has to be spread among many within Pioneer because it is recognition for numerous scientists, including laboratory researchers and field breeders, as well as the marketing and communications staff.

The awards program was initiated to recognize those companies that do a good job telling their message. A company can have a great product, but if its features and benefits aren't realistically explained and delineated, then its potential sales and impact on agriculture will not be met.

AgProfessional's editorial staff appreciates the communication from public relations agencies and companies that provide newsworthy information of interest to the magazine's readers-crop consultants, ag retailers and farm managers.

The staff is already looking at early-year product announcements, news releases and media kits in expectation of determining the third annual top 10 Editors' Choice New Products of the Year award winners and ultimately the Readers' Choice award winner, too.