Syngenta helps Pacific Northwest growers achieve top wheat yields

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Harvest results in the Pacific Northwest indicate that AgriPro brand winter wheat variety, SY Ovation, which Syngenta released commercially to growers just last year, produced top yields throughout the region — as high as 16 bu/A better than average.

"The results really speak for themselves," said Ed Driskill, cereals key account manager, Syngenta, Moscow, Idaho. "SY Ovation is an extremely well-rounded white wheat variety, proven to be high yielding with good threshability and very good end-use quality. Needless to say, growers who planted it last year are very pleased."

SY Ovation is the first commercially-released certified seed variety in the Pacific Northwest developed using doubled-haploid technology. Along with good stripe rust tolerance, it offers heavy test weights and excellent yield potential. In 2013, this translated to Idaho, Oregon and Washington dryland fields with yields ranging from more than 80 bu/A to almost 120 bu/A, and irrigated fields with yields close to 165 bu/A. Test weights averaged around 60 pounds per bushel.

According to a July survey by the Idaho Wheat Commission, SY Ovation was the top-planted winter wheat in Idaho for the 2012-13 season.1

Breeding advancements: An eye on the future
SY Ovation is the direct result of an ears-to-the-ground approach Syngenta takes with wheat research and development. With the largest wheat breeding program in North America, Syngenta has breeding facilities throughout the U.S. that directly respond to region-specific challenges.

The company has almost 100 years of wheat breeding experience, dating back to the 1920s. At that time, selection was done purely by eye, taking as much as a dozen years from first cross to commercial release. Today, applied biotechnology such as the doubled-haploid process used to develop SY Ovation helps identify characteristics at the seedling stage, leading to a shorter breeding cycle and better combinations of agronomic and quality characteristics.

"Our breeding program has essentially been put on a rocket sled," said John Moffatt, Syngenta wheat breeder in the Pacific Northwest, Cheney, WA. "With the doubled-haploid process, we’re able to cut out four to five years from the conventional breeding approach – making us four to five years faster to respond to growers’ needs."

Collaboration is key to driving success
In addition to its regional breeding work, Syngenta has close ties with multiple associations across the industry and hosts a number of events to showcase the latest advancements and new technologies in wheat.

Earlier this summer, the company hosted the first annual Syngenta Seed Academy, bringing together more than 90 Pacific Northwest retailers and distributors to discuss the latest wheat industry developments. Syngenta representatives provided a step-by-step walk-through of crop growth cycles and integrated new technologies – from seed genetics to crop protection – to help growers maximize crop quality and yield potential.

"What we are seeing is the importance of a completely integrated approach – how preparing and starting strong can really help carry a crop all the way to harvest," said Ric Wesselman, Syngenta sales representative. "Take Vibrance brand seed treatment fungicides, for example. This line of products was developed by researchers looking for a common bond between roots, diseases, moisture efficiency and nutrient utilization to help plants emerge evenly, grow strong and deliver consistent yields."

Vibrance brand seed treatments were introduced in 2012 and have helped growers achieve higher yield potential by delivering best-in-class activity against Rhizoctonia and a boost to crops’ RootingPower.

"SY Ovation and Vibrance brand seed treatments are great additions to our toolbox that we define as the integrated approach," Driskill said. "By focusing on bringing multiple pieces together like new varieties and seed treatments – rather than just relying on one individual tool – we can help growers improve the entire crop and ultimately grow more wheat."

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