A diverse group of projects across research and development (R&D) platforms aimed at making agriculture more productive and profitable for farmers, and more sustainable, were highlighted during Monsanto Company’s annual pipeline update.
Using a combination of the latest breeding, biotechnology, and agronomic tools and solutions, Monsanto remains committed to developing and delivering products that can create the next wave of yield opportunity for farmers.
“We’re excited about the record progress we’ve made this year across all of our R&D platforms, as the projects in our pipeline today will help us provide an even stronger toolkit of solutions to meet the needs of farmers in the future,” said Robb Fraley, Monsanto chief technology officer. “Through the convergence of innovations in our breeding, biotechnology and agronomic solutions platforms, we’re focused on providing farmers the total package that can maximize their yields sustainably.”
Monsanto draws from a collection of germplasm that is unparalleled in the industry. Increasingly, the company is using tools like molecular markers to more efficiently and effectively mine the diversity in this genetic library to develop elite seeds faster than ever before. In addition to annual germplasm improvements, three targeted breeding traits advanced phases this year, Phytophthora Resistant Peppers, Downy Mildew-Resistant Cucumbers and Beneforté Broccoli.
Monsanto also highlighted a number of projects in both its agronomic traits pipeline and its yield and stress collaboration with BASF Plant Science. Yield and stress projects advancing phases this year are Drought-Tolerant Cotton and Higher-Yielding Corn. Six advancements designed to provide improved pest and weed management solutions were announced in the agronomic traits pipeline. Highlights include Corn Rootworm III and Second-Generation Insect-Protected Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans, which would both offer multiple modes of action for enhanced insect control and durability. Monsanto’s Cotton Lygus Control project, the first to target piercing-sucking insects in cotton, also advanced phases.
Agronomic Solutions Platform
Monsanto spotlighted three advancements in its agronomic solutions platform, including a new premix formulation of Roundup and low volatility dicamba that would provide farmers with an additional tool for weed management and a novel nematicide chemistry designed to improve plant health. The company’s Integrated Farming Systems I project, which would tie hybrid recommendations to variable-rate planting to help drive yields further, advanced to the final phase before commercialization.
The following is a complete list of projects advancing phases in 2012.
Biotechnology Agronomic Traits
Corn Rootworm III (Advanced to Phase 3)
Corn Rootworm III would offer increased control and durability against the corn rootworm by providing two distinct modes of action. The project incorporates RNAi technology as its second mode of action. RNAi is a natural process that occurs in cells to help protect their health.
Second-Generation Insect-Protected Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield Soybeans (Advanced to Phase 3)
Second-Generation Insect-Protected Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans would offer multiple modes of action for improved durability, a wider spectrum of insect protection, including armyworms, and the opportunity to reduce the size of the structured refuge, thereby enabling greater yield potential and value to the grower.
Genuity Bollgard III Cotton (Advanced to Phase 3)
Genuity Bollgard III cotton is a third-generation insect control product that would build on the success of previous Bollgard products by providing enhanced insect protection, including improved control of beet and fall armyworms, through the use of multiple modes of action. The product would also provide enhanced, season-long protection to targeted insects.
Cotton Lygus Control (Advanced to Phase 2)
The Cotton Lygus Control product would be the first to extend the spectrum of insect control to piercing-sucking lygus bugs, which damage bolls and reduce lint yield and quality.
Next-Generation Genuity Roundup Ready Canola (Advanced to Phase 4)
Next-Generation Genuity Roundup Ready canola is a second-generation weed control product that would offer farmers greater flexibility through an extended application window up to the first flower and opportunity to apply Roundup herbicide at higher rates for enhanced weed control.
Next-Generation Genuity Roundup Ready + LibertyLink Canola (Advanced to Phase 3)
Next-Generation Genuity Roundup Ready + LibertyLink canola would deliver a second mode of action of herbicide tolerance, offering flexibility to have multiple herbicide choices for farmers planting the DEKALB brand.
Biotechnology Yield & Stress Traits
Higher-Yielding Corn (Advanced to Phase 3) – In Collaboration with BASF
The higher-yielding corn trait is designed to be stacked on top of Genuity corn products and other corn pipeline traits to provide additional yield opportunity. This additional yield opportunity would be additive to the total system offered to farmers, creating a package with the highest yield potential.
Drought-Tolerant Cotton (Advanced to Phase 2) – In Collaboration with BASF
The drought-tolerant cotton trait is designed to deliver improved water use in cotton by providing yield stability in environments experiencing occasional or consistent water stress. The trait also has the potential to reduce water needs on irrigated acres. This is the first generation project in a family of drought-tolerant traits for cotton.
Phytophthora-Resistant Peppers (Advanced to Phase 3)
Field evaluations are demonstrating significant increase in Phytophthora blight resistance. Elite commercial pepper hybrids with high resistance to Phytophthora blight would enable farmers to increase productivity, simplify management and potentially reduce fungicide applications.
Downy Mildew-Resistant Cucumbers (Launching)
New downy mildew-resistant lines have shown potential for a distinct yield advantage while greatly reducing both the number and cost associated with the fungicidal sprays growers currently use to control the disease.
Beneforté® Broccoli (Launching)
Beneforté naturally contains two to three times the phytonutrient glucoraphanin compared with other leading broccoli varieties produced under similar growing conditions, boosting the body’s antioxidant enzyme levels at least two times more than other broccoli.
Chemistry and Agronomic Systems
Dicamba+Roundup Premix Formulation (Advanced to Phase 3)
Monsanto collaborates with BASF’s Crop Protection division to develop improved dicamba formulations. The dicamba+Roundup premix formulation has advanced to phase three, with expanded field trials to begin in 2012 pending EPA approval. Dicamba is an economical and effective herbicide that provides excellent control for a wide range of broadleaf weeds.
Nematicide Chemistry (Advanced to Phase 2)
Monsanto’s new nematicide chemistry would provide farmers with an additional tool to control pressure against multiple nematode species, one of the largest unsolved pest problems in agriculture.
Integrated Farming Systems I (Advanced to Phase 4)
Monsanto’s Integrated Farming Systems on-farm systems recommendations would unlock proven yield benefits and help farmers recognize maximum potential economic yield from their crops. Recommendations would be delivered through tools that complement and integrate with other precision agriculture technology to help farmers easily manage Monsanto’s products and recommendations across their operations. The Integrated Farming Systems I project, which would tie hybrid recommendations to soil and environment based yield potential enabling variable-rate planting to help drive potential yields further, advanced to the final phase before commercialization.
- A video highlighting Monsanto’s approach to driving yields is available at www.monsanto.com/pipeline.