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Soybean yield breakthrough

Pioneer Hi-Bred announces that it will introduce a new line of elite soybeans boasting yields that are 12% higher than those of conventional varieties. Pioneer is using a new technology called Accelerated Yield Technology (AYT) to develop the soybeans. The company will sell five varieties with AYT next year, and it plans a full-line introduction by 2012. Included among the varieties is a version of Pioneer's brand 94M80, which set a 2006 world record soybean yield of 139 bu./acre.

AYT allows soybean breeders to rapidly scan and identify genes that affect yield. The company is now working on three traits, but the 2008 varieties are from just one trait.

“Our customers are seeing dramatic increases in Pioneer soybean variety yields that have never been seen in such a short period of time,” says William Niebur, vice president, DuPont Crop Genetics Research and Development. He adds that using AYT doubles the rate of yield improvement compared to the use of traditional breeding methods.

The seed industry has been able to locate and produce only single-gene traits until now. AYT lets breeders simultaneously select multiple genes that affect some traits like yield. Because AYT is not transgenic, new varieties do not need additional regulatory approvals.

“Full implementation of AYT combined with molecular breeding technologies will enable Pioneer to make a new class of soybeans that has unprecedented yield potential,” Niebur says. “These technologies allow us to incorporate a complete package of offensive and defensive characteristics that could make 100-plus-bushel soybean yields a common occurrence in the very near future.”

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