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Research_Plot_00026-(1)[3].jpg Pioneer

Technology plays key role in plant breeding

News of Agribusiness: Pioneer offers 89 new corn and soybean products for 2020.

Pioneer is releasing 89 corn and soybean products for North America in 2020 — 45 corn hybrids and 44 new soybean varieties.

The new product lineup was announced Dec. 19 during a media conference call.

A press release provided before the media call cited new offerings as "top performers bred from the Corteva Agriscience germplasm library."

“Pioneer is once again bringing an exceptional class of products with elite genetics to the market,” Judd O’Connor, president, U.S. Commercial Business, Corteva Agriscience, said during the press briefing. “With Pioneer brand seeds, farmers can be confident they are planting products with strong yield potential and excellent agronomics that consistently deliver top performance.”

Brent Wilson, product management and agronomy leader for the Pioneer brand in the U.S., said the products that make the final cut have come through vigorous field-testing, including on-farm trials that test plants under the farmer's management, soil and climate conditions.

Products in the 2020 lineup passed multiple years of rigorous testing and demonstrated production stability across a broad range of environments.

"These products have shown consistent performance and ability to withstand key pests and diseases," Wilson said. "Yield remains a main standard. We select products with stable, consistent, harvestable yields, year in and year out."

The press release offered a brief overview of new products.

Corn hybrids

The 2020 class of Pioneer brand includes 45 new corn hybrids and 28 new genetic platforms in maturities ranging from 85 to 118 CRM. Products include:

• 15 new Pioneer brand Qrome products that provide a balance of high-yield potential, agronomic performance, and above- and below-ground insect protection.

• One new Pioneer brand Optimum AQUAmax product, designed to protect against yield loss in limited water environments.

• Two new Pioneer brand Optimum Leptra hybrids to protect grain quality and maximize yield by providing protection against above-ground pests.

• Pioneer is also adding end-use products, advancing six yellow food-grade options, one white food-grade product, a new conventional option and one waxy product.

“Farmers began to experience the corn revolution with the 2019 corn class, and we’re excited to build on their options in 2020 with these outstanding new products,” said Matt Smalley, research director, North America Corn Breeding, Corteva Agriscience.

2020 New Soybean Products

Pioneer is adding 44 soybean varieties with maturities from 0.4 to 6.8. The 2020 Pioneer soybean class includes:

• 13 new Pioneer brand A-Series varieties with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend technology with exceptional yield potential protected by tolerance to glyphosate and dicamba herbicides. A-Series soybeans are the highest-yielding varieties ever introduced by Pioneer.

• Five new Pioneer brand A-Series soybean varieties with the LibertyLink gene.

• 24 new Pioneer brand Enlist E3 soybean varieties that provide tolerance to glyphosate, glufosinate and the new 2,4-D choline in Enlist Duo and Enlist One herbicides to help control glyphosate-resistant and other tough-to-control weeds and broadleaf grasses.

• Two new conventional soybean varieties to give growers additional choices.

• More than 40 of the new soybean varieties have native resistance to soybean cyst nematode (SCN), one of the most destructive soybean pathogens. SCN costs U.S. soybean farmers more than $1 billion in lost revenue each year. Of those, four varieties have Peking resistance, bringing Pioneer’s total number of soybean varieties with Peking resistance to 28.

“We’re excited about the newest addition of soybean varieties to the already-impressive lineup,” said Jeff Thompson, research director, North America Soybean, Corteva Agriscience. “We pride ourselves in giving farmers a variety of herbicide tolerant trait options so they can choose the products that best fit their acres, while having confidence they are protecting the outstanding yield potential with strong agronomics.”

Pioneer representatives also commented on how technology is enhancing plant breeding efforts.

"Genetic markers give us the ability to use gene information easier than ever before," Wilson said.

He said GMO technology remains an important aspect of plant breeding but adds that Pioneer also recognizes consumer needs. "This is a consumer-driven industry, so we need to be in dialogue with consumers and demonstrate advantages and how we can meet their needs."

He said techniques such as gene editing also provide new tools to assist plant breeders.

"Pioneer is a leader in technology," Wilson adds, "but we also are looking at other ways to add value to products. We identify plant tolerance traits that already occur in the Corteva germplasm library. We are making significant investments in basic genetic improvement."

Remote sensing, "eyes in the sky that look down on research plots," also offers breeders a data-gathering tool to help select plants for further testing, Wilson said.

"Data management continues to be at the center of the tools we use," O'Connor said. "Data use from a predictive standpoint offers the opportunity to assess the likelihood of one product performing better than others. That is a tremendous help."

Wilson said Corteva Agriscience also invests in new synthetic compounds. He said research and development investment tops $2 billion annually.

O'Connor explained that a small percentage of the thousands of cultivars tested ever make it to field trials. In fact, 99.9 percent do not make the grade, he said.

Wilson compared the process to the National Football League's annual combine where they evaluate college players.

"We do something similar with seed products. We evaluate, so we understand the strengths and weaknesses of each product."

It's also a data-based prospect. "We gather statistics from plants in trials, and we compare with computer simulation."

Boots on the ground also play a role, Wilson said. "We have teams of agronomists who work with customers. Agronomists understand the criteria that make products successful across multiple environments."

TAGS: Soybeans Corn
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