AMANA, Iowa -- Monsanto announced at the 2006 Farm Progress Show this week that YieldGard VT(TM) will be the name of its new, second-generation insect control technology, which is designed to provide farmers with more consistent insect control and higher yield potential.

The initial products will be YieldGard VT Rootworm/RR2(TM) and YieldGard VT Triple(TM), which will add the YieldGard Corn Borer trait via conventional breeding. Both are targeted for a limited introduction in 2007.

For over a decade, YieldGard(R) products have set the standard for maximum insect protection. Currently, the family of YieldGard products is planted on more than 50 million acres.

Dave Rhylander, Monsanto director of traits, said YieldGard VT Rootworm/RR2 represents the next generation of YieldGard stacked traits, developed through advanced Vector-Stack Transformation, or "VecTran," technology upon which its name is based.

The traditional approach for creating stacked hybrids has been through breeding. A gene gun has typically been used to insert individual traits into separate plants, and then the plants have been crossbred to produce a new hybrid containing the multiple traits.

Rhylander said VecTran utilizes a cleaner, more natural agrobacterium- mediated insertion process. Two or more genes containing the desired traits are delivered through a single insertion process into the plant chromosome, on which optimal performance of the stacked traits is achieved. The result is a stacked-trait hybrid with a highly active and more consistent promoter of the rootworm protection gene, which is more effectively distributed throughout the root system.

"For farmers, this will mean they get stacked-trait hybrids with improved consistency, with even better insect control and higher yield potential than current YieldGard products on the market," said Rhylander. "And, because we bypass the traditional breeding process for producing stacks, growers can get elite germplasm with better, higher-yielding traits six to 12 months faster."

Monsanto field trials are proving that hybrids with YieldGard VT technology are performing under actual field conditions. In 2005, Monsanto dug 30,000 roots comparing YieldGard VT roots against the industry-standard YieldGard brands. The results proved that YieldGard VT hybrids consistently scored better in root ratings than first-generation YieldGard hybrids.

Rhylander said there will be a variety of new YieldGard VT products that growers can expect to see over the next several years, including YieldGard VT Triple Pro(TM), now being tested in regulated field trials, which is a stacked combination of YieldGard VT Rootworm/RR2 plus new second-generation YieldGard Corn Borer.

Last season, hybrids protected with the YieldGard corn technology had bigger, healthier root systems than conventional corn protected with soil insecticides, which resulted in an average 10.9 bushel-per-acre-yield advantage across the Midwest.

YieldGard Plus achieved a 15-bushel yield advantage compared with corn protected with insecticides under the severe drought conditions experienced in Illinois last season. In addition, a significant number of growers in the extreme drought areas of Illinois experienced performance advantages in excess of 35 bushels per acre with YieldGard Plus.

Monsanto reminds growers to always follow grain marketing and insect resistance management requirements, and read and follow pesticide label directions. Roundup Ready(R) crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup(R) agricultural herbicides. Roundup agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not glyphosate tolerant. YieldGard(R), YieldGard VT(TM), Roundup(R) and Roundup Ready(R) are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC.

SOURCE: Monsanto Company via PR Newswire.