DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- Seed catalogs burst with new promise each season but each seed is programmed to do more than produce. Major trait providers continue to pump pipelines full of built-in protections within the seed to answer production challenges.
In a special species called Seed Solutions, DTN/Progressive Farmer examines many aspects that contribute to the increased productivity of today's seed offerings. We also assess various public and private efforts that have both protected genetic diversity while also unlocking hidden genetic secrets that allow crops to perform even in the face of pests, disease and environmental stresses.
Today, in our fifth story of the series, we share what the largest and trait suppliers have in their seed product pipelines. Companies are listed in alphabetical order and the lightly edited information comes from the companies. Keep in mind that other seed companies license technologies from these trait providers.
BASF continues to make great strides in seed innovation with advancements in soybeans and cotton for 2024 and beyond.
Xitavo soybean seed continues to roll out new varieties each year; 11 new varieties are available for 2024. With these additions, the Xitavo seed portfolio now includes 44 varieties, all featuring triple-stacked Enlist E3 technology for weed control flexibility. Xitavo soybean seed is owned by MS Technologies and exclusively distributed by BASF.
Last year, Xitavo soybean varieties had 14 first-place finishes and 155 top 10 finishes in the Farmers' Independent Research of Seed Technologies (FIRST) yield tests. What's more, Xitavo soybean varieties showed outstanding performance in the WinField United Answer Plot in 2022 with seven National Performers, 20 top 10 national finishes and 26 top 5 regional finishes.
Soybean Advances -- For the 2025 season, BASF plans to introduce new Xitavo varieties with exclusive germplasm aimed at raising overall average yields for growers while also providing germplasm differentiation. This will help growers reduce risk by having more genetic diversity on-farm.
In the latter half of the decade, BASF intends to launch a nematode-resistant soybean (NRS) trait to further help soybean growers in their fight against soybean cyst nematode (SCN). This NRS trait will be the first-ever transgenic trait to control SCN and the first plant-incorporated mode of action for SCN control in over 20 years. It provides effective SCN control without any negative agronomic effects in a single trait for ease of breeding.
Cotton Release -- Stoneville and FiberMax cotton seed have a long history of bringing innovation to cotton growers. Axant Flex Herbicide Tolerance Technology in cotton is the newest innovation in a continuation of this legacy. Coupled with the advanced genetics of FiberMax and Stoneville cotton, varieties with Axant Flex Technology will offer cotton growers superior agronomic performance.
The 2024 limited release of Axant Flex Technology will provide a complete solution to cotton growers -- the newest and most comprehensive weed management technology to battle resistance as well as excellent fiber quality and yield potential. BASF will introduce this new technology to a limited market with select FiberMax and Stoneville cotton varieties for the 2024 growing season.
Bayer's pipeline is poised to deliver more new tools and technologies to growers as they continue to deliver updates to their portfolio yearly. Bayer innovative products range from enhanced genetics and traits to crop protection and management, all designed with a grower-centric approach focusing on the challenges that farmers face, whether weeds, pests or even harsh weather. Bayer delivers these solutions through a more than $2.6 billion annual investment in R&D.
New Corn System -- Bayer is delivering a new era in corn production to help farmers manage risks and protect yields via the Preceon Smart Corn System. The system is made up of short-stature corn hybrids, paired with digital insights from Bayer's Climate FieldView platform, and tailored support from the company. This corn platform will offer growers protection with improved standability in high winds and challenging weather conditions. It also offers improved in-season access due to reduced height -- which supports tailored solutions for precise, in-season crop protection. The system shows significant promise to unlock additional yield potential through optimized crop inputs, planting densities and field placements.
Soybean Options -- On the soybean front, the company expects to provide farmers even more options with the launch of HT4 soybeans expected in 2027. HT4 soy, when approved, will add 2,4-D and HPPD to the already approved glyphosate, dicamba and glufosinate package found in XtendFlex soybeans. HT4 is set to be the industry's first five-tolerance trait stack in soybeans, giving farmers even greater flexibility in management. Earlier this year, Bayer announced that HT5 soybeans, which add a sixth herbicide tolerance (PPO), advanced to phase 3 of their pipeline, bringing that product one step closer to commercial availability.
Bayer's approach to innovation takes a holistic approach to regenerative agriculture by working with farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices that not only benefit their fields but also their operations.
Bayer's robust pipeline extends the company's track record of converting R&D into value-added solutions for growers -- supporting their need to meet growing global demand for food, feed, fiber, and fuel while advancing a climate-smart future for the industry.
The Corteva Agriscience R&D engine keeps accelerating, giving farmers new choices and innovative solutions now and in the future. The industry-leading pipeline is driven by recent launches of Vorceed Enlist corn, PowerCore Enlist corn, Optimum GLY canola and momentum of the Enlist weed control system.
With the power of a novel RNAi mode of action, Vorceed Enlist corn is the next generation of corn rootworm (CRW) protection. Available now, Vorceed Enlist corn offers maximized yield potential and ultimate flexibility with four herbicide tolerances to 2,4-D choline, glyphosate, glufosinate and FOP herbicides. Corteva also recently announced the availability of PowerCore Enlist Refuge Advanced corn, which provides enhanced weed and above-ground pest control in a single bag.
In the next few years, Corteva expects to launch reduced-stature corn. In the long term, farmers can look forward to multi-disease resistance to improve plant health through CRISPR technology as well as next-generation above- and below-ground corn insect trait offerings combined with Corteva's industry-leading corn germplasm.
Soybean Traits -- Enlist E3 soybeans with elite germplasm, unique genetics and enhanced disease control. As demand for high oleic soybeans continues to rise, Corteva anticipates an introductory stewarded launch targeted for 2025 of Pioneer brand Plenish high oleic soybean varieties combined with the Enlist E3 trait as well as a brand-new series of genetics that will eclipse that of A-series.
Additionally, Corteva, BASF and MS Technologies have announced a trait licensing agreement to develop next-generation Enlist E3 soybeans with the NRS trait for farmers in the U.S. and Canada, expected to be commercialized in the late 2020s, pending applicable regulatory reviews and completion of field testing.
Canola Flexibility -- Optimum GLY canola is a new, proprietary glyphosate trait technology intended to deliver enhanced weed control and a wide window of herbicide application. It will give farmers more choice and flexibility for effective weed management and top-yield potential.
At Syngenta Seeds, the focus continues to be on strengthening the research and development (R&D) engine by enhancing speed and power with product precision and a relentless focus on the farmer. This commitment to being an innovation powerhouse was reinforced with the June 2023 grand opening of the Syngenta Seeds R&D Innovation Center in Malta, Illinois. This site in the heart of the Midwest is designed so farmers can have a seat at the Syngenta Seeds innovation table.
The latest addition to the company's innovation ecosystem reinforces Syngenta Seeds' commitment to improving germplasm performance, launching stacked, next-generation differentiated traits and demonstrating regenerative agriculture cropping systems that benefit farmers, consumers and our planet. Germplasm developed at the facility will benefit farmers locally and around the world.
Corn Investments -- Syngenta Seeds is developing hybrids like never before, driven by investments leading to an increase in high-performing hybrids in farmers' fields quicker. The sequencing data and strategic testing for effective product placements mean the corn seed portfolio is delivering more trait choices on higher-performing genetics, ensuring more consistency in the field. Syngenta's current trait stack, DuracadeViptera, offers comprehensive insect protection, controlling 16 above- and below-ground pests. Innovation is in the works for the next-generation above-ground and corn rootworm traits, along with proprietary herbicide tolerance.
Soybean Strides -- New tech and infrastructure only matter if the core business is at its best. A more than 50-year legacy of soybean breeding provides diversity in Syngenta's portfolio. The company will continue delivering new traits to the market while owning the unique position of providing trait choice through proprietary genetics for both major herbicide trait platforms (Enlist E3 and XtendFlex soybeans).
Hybrid Wheat -- Corn and other crops have long benefited from the combining of strong parents to produce hybrid vigor. Syngenta is now offering the same benefits to wheat. A limited acreage of F1 spring wheat hybrids was offered to Northern Plains farmers in 2023. A full commercial launch of hybrid wheat is anticipated in 2024 under Syngenta's AgriPro brand.
See Reporter's Notebook with Jason Jenkins about this Seed Solutions series at https://www.dtnpf.com/….
See related Editors' Notebook blog about the series, "The Power of 'Magic Beans,'" at https://www.dtnpf.com/…
See other stories in the series:
Seed Solutions - 1, "National Seed Bank Provides Future Security," at https://www.dtnpf.com/…
Seed Solutions - 2, "How Seed Companies Respond to New Corn Threats," at https://www.dtnpf.com/…
Seed Solutions - 3, "Seed Companies Work to Get a Grip on Soybean Cyst," at https://www.dtnpf.com/…
Seed Solutions - 4, "Modern Genetic Tools Speed the Delivery of Seed Innovation," at https://www.dtnpf.com/…
Pamela Smith can be reached at email@example.com
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