Orlando Overload: Latest in Agronomy on Full Display at 2023 Commodity Classic
ORLANDO, Fla. (DTN) -- Attending Commodity Classic is like running a marathon. Both are endurance events that require the ability to pace yourself and a comfortable pair of shoes.
The sheer enormity of the trade show alone is enough to make you sweat. At this year's recently concluded edition held in Orlando, Florida, every square inch of exhibition space was spoken for by a whopping 412 companies. Over the course of three days, the show was open for a total of 18.5 hours, including the extra hour when media gets exclusive access. If you wanted to visit every exhibitor, you would need to get to about 22 of them per hour, every hour. And don't dawdle while you're there -- you have less than three minutes with each.
And that's without taking time to attend any of the dozens of educational sessions, policy meetings, farmer presentations and other events also held during Commodity Classic. It doesn't take long to come to the realization that you can't "see it all."
As a seasoned attendee of Commodity Classic, I tend to look for themes amongst the exhibitor's offerings. This year, those themes included automation and sensing technologies, especially amongst the equipment manufacturers. Many new products were marketed with sustainability as an overarching goal. Of course, the market for biological products for crop health and protection has exploded with many new players on the scene. In the traditional chemical pesticide space, most of the major companies were promoting new premix corn herbicides with multiple active ingredients. Read more on that here: https://www.dtnpf.com/….
However, there were products and developments that didn't exactly fit a theme. Here are a few that caught this crop editor's attention that I felt were worth sharing:
PLANT BREEDING INNOVATION
Corteva Agriscience announced that it is using CRISPR gene-editing technology to bolster its corn hybrids against four major diseases: northern corn leaf blight, southern corn rust, gray leaf spot and anthracnose stalk rot. According to the company, these four diseases are estimated to have cost North American corn growers $318 million in lost production in 2021 alone.
The early-stage technology allows plant breeders to package multiple native traits for disease resistance from Corteva's worldwide germplasm pools into a single location within the genome of its elite North American corn hybrids.
"We're pulling seven native traits from our global germplasm," said Tom Greene, Corteva senior director, external innovation investment, during a press event at Commodity Classic. "We're pulling some traits from Brazil, some traits from Southeast Asia, and putting them in our North American germplasm. This allows the breeders to not have to worry about selecting for one or two segments that are bringing that native tolerance and allows them to focus more on driving genetic gain, performance and yield in their selections."
The yet-to-be-named trait technology also speeds the process, he said. "We could theoretically create it through a traditional breeding process, but it would take much longer."
While Corteva's announcement focused on combatting four corn diseases, Greene noted that the CRISPR technology could also be used in a similar fashion to improve disease resistance in both soybeans and cotton. The company anticipates advancement of these multi-disease resistance corn genetics to commercialization by the end of the decade.
SELLING SEED DIFFERENTLY
Whether purchased in a bag or a bulk pro box, the way seed has been sold hasn't changed much for decades. Farmers pay for each and every seed. They often determine how much seed they need by finding their economic optimum seeding rate, accounting for the cost of seed and the price at which they intend to sell their harvest.
At Commodity Classic, Syngenta announced the GHX experience by Golden Harvest, which diverges from the status quo. Instead of selling seed by the bag, GHX allows farmers to purchase hybrids that maximize yield at a flat rate, per-acre price, regardless of population.
"Through our MaxScript process, we're offering farmers a straightforward recommendation, giving them the seeding population they need on a field-by-field basis to get the highest return on investment," said Wade Wiley, head of customer experience strategy and business intelligence for Syngenta Seeds. "It's a simplified, transparent seed-buying experience. The farmer is getting more without having to pay more."
In addition to MaxScript, Wiley said GHX also features a personalized experience for farmers.
"We estimate that 70% of farmers are not getting an in-season visit during the summer from their seed seller," he said. "Farmers are not getting field-by-field recommendations. We felt farmers were being underserved, and they deserved a better experience."
The GHX ServiceSquad, combined with a new app, GHX Mobile, is central to this experience. The on-call team of experts supports the app's real-time data analysis, crop-specific weather and markets.
Currently, GHX is available to farmers in Illinois and Iowa. Wiley said that Golden Harvest plans to expand the experience to other areas in the future.
GAINING ADVANTAGE WITH ADJUVANTS
Growers are constantly looking to stay ahead of herbicide resistance in tough weed species like Palmer amaranth and waterhemp. But getting the most out of those elaborate tank mixes that combine several active ingredients and modes of action requires the addition of multi-functional adjuvants that can handle the job.
At Commodity Classic, Innvictis Crop Care introduced seven new adjuvant formulations using its novel Inntero technology. Originally developed in Europe for use in dishwashing liquids, Inntero is a combination of penetrants and surfactants designed to be effective at low concentrations. It delivers more effective spray droplets by lowering surface tension and increasing cuticle penetration. This leads to better coverage and overall herbicide efficacy.
"The power of Inntero is in its ability to improve adjuvant formulations at a low concentration," said Justin Greer, national marketing manager for Innvictis, noting that with the technology, adjuvants can be applied at rates as low as one quarter per 100 gallons of spray solution.
The company said adjuvants formulated with Inntero offer a combination of functions, saving growers the time and hassle of mixing and storing multiple adjuvants.
Inntero received full EPA approval in 2019 and will be a limited release in 2023. A full launch is planned for 2024. Innvictis is exclusive to Simplot Grower Solutions.
Jason Jenkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him on Twitter @JasonJenkinsDTN
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