Soybean farmers have a few years to wait but should be looking forward to protecting their crops using a new novel insect-resistant trait being developed by Dow AgroSciences.

Dow AgroSciences explains that it is advancing an insect-resistant trait that, when commercialized, will provide soybean farmers with the “broadest spectrum for insect control against lepidopteran pests.”

The company’s insect-resistant soybean trait is the first to be submitted for approvals that expresses two Bt proteins. This will provide broader in-plant protection of lepidopteran pests, as well as improve sustainability of the technology compared to other soybean technologies being advanced in the market with only one Bt protein.

Extensive research has shown that the company’s trait provides broad in-plant protection against lepidopteran pests such as fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), soybean looper (Pseudoplusia includens), velvetbean caterpillar (Anticarsia gemmatalis), soybean podworm (Helicoverpa gelotopoeon) and tobacco budworm (Heliothis virescens) as well as Rachiplusia nu

U.S. soybean farmers are not expected to be the first users of the trait. This trait has been submitted to regulatory authorities for approval in key soybean countries as part of the global authorization process. The trait is initially targeted for commercialization in South America. Brazil represents the largest opportunity where insect pressure results in significant yield loss every year. Argentina soybean farmers also face significant impact to their soybean yields due to insects. The company plans to broadly license the technology to regional seed companies in these countries to provide wide access for farmers.

Upon regulatory approvals of the insect-control trait and the Enlist soybean trait in the U.S. plus breeding of soybean varieties, the two traits will be offered as a stack in elite and high-yielding soybean varieties, which is the same marketing concept for South America, just earlier than the U.S.

“This integrated solution will provide much-needed insect control as well as tolerance to multiple herbicides for improved weed management, allowing crops to maximize yield in a highly efficient and sustainable manner,” the company explained.

“Our insect-resistant soybean trait is a major advancement of outstanding technology that will help farmers who struggle more every season to control significant lepidopteran pests,” said Rolando Meninato, global leader, Seeds Traits and Oils, Dow AgroSciences. “By developing this new technology in combination with the Enlist Weed Control System, we will be able to provide a significant, multi-trait product with the broadest pest control package that enables both insect and weed control so soybeans can deliver their yield potential.”

Pending regulatory approvals, the trait package is expected to be available in elite and high-yielding soybean varieties for the Brazilian and Argentinean markets in the next three to five years.