More soybean traits in the next decade, Monsanto says
Building on the successful launch of Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield trait technology, Monsanto Company is poised to deliver a dozen new soybean traits in the next decade, helping farmers boost yield to meet the growing global demands for soybeans.
“We’re calling the 2010s the ‘Decade of the Bean’ because Monsanto has a mix of 12 biotech and breeding traits in its soybean research and development pipeline that are targeted to give farmers the tools they need to help maximize their yield opportunity,” said Roy Fuchs, Monsanto’s global oilseeds technology lead. “Global demand for soybeans is driving the need for farmers to increase yields, and we can meet that demand thanks to the significant investments Monsanto has made in soybean breeding and biotechnology and in improving agronomic practices.”
Advances resulting from the company’s new product soybean pipeline support Monsanto’s goal of helping farmers double crop yields by 2030 to meet this growing world demand. These innovations will be available only in varieties containing the company’s second-generation soybean trait technology – Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield.
“Farmers are asking for the combination of high-yielding offensive traits and protective defensive traits when it comes to soybeans,” said Calvin Treat, Monsanto global soybean breeding lead. “Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield trait technology and advanced breeding techniques deliver the offensive punch while traits like aphid-tolerance and Phytophthora root rot resistance discovered via breeding efforts provide the defensive characteristics that protect yield. With tools like marker-assisted breeding and soybean chipping technology, Monsanto’s R&D organization is bringing products that are expected to deliver high-yield potential every year.”
Defensive Breeding Targets Key Plant Diseases and Insects
Monsanto’s breeding program, utilizing a global germplasm pool and advanced molecular breeding tools, brings new varieties to farmers each season that create breeding yield gains. For the future, the company also is focused on developing new, high-performing soybean varieties with improved resistance to key insects and diseases. Areas of concentration include:
- Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) resistance – Nearly all current Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybean varieties contain resistance to the primary race (Race 3) of soybean cyst nematode, a pest that causes an estimated yield loss of 100 to 200 million bushels per year in the United States. Monsanto breeders continue to develop new soybean varieties that will contain traits targeting additional SCN races, with planned introductions in the next several years.
- Phytophthora root rot resistance – The majority of current varieties contain a single resistance gene to this disease, which is also a top soybean yield-robber. Breeding efforts are focused on multiple-gene combinations, now in the pre-launch phase, with resistance to 80 percent of the estimated 55 races identified. In 2011, early-phase varieties with this double-gene stack showed a 1.4 bushel-per-acre yield advantage over single-gene products.
- Soybean aphid resistance – A second-generation product will build on current Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield aphid-resistant varieties by stacking proprietary gene sources for more stable resistance. Aphid-resistant varieties targeted for a mid-decade launch have the potential to reduce costs associated with scouting and insecticide applications.
- Additional plant diseases – Breeders also continue to work on improved resistance to other important soybean plant diseases – including white mold, sudden death syndrome and charcoal rot. These disease pressures vary season to season, influenced to a large degree by weather and other environmental factors. This season, Monsanto launched three new Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybean varieties with the industry’s first resistance to Asian Soybean Rust for the southern United States.