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Alta Seeds to Launch First Herbicide Tolerant Sorghum Hybrids in 2016

Bill Spiegel 08/05/2014 @ 5:05pm I grew up in north-central Kansas, and am the Fourth Generation to maintain and manage our farm; we grow wheat, soybeans and grain sorghum. I'm a 1993 graduate of Kansas State University in ag communications.

The sorghum industry’s first herbicide-tolerant grain sorghum hybrid should be available to farmers. 

Alta Seeds has been testing the hybrid, which features resistance to an ALS herbicide called “Zest” that is being developed by DuPont. The sorghum hybrid contains DuPont’s Inzen Z herbicide-tolerant sorghum trait and has been in field trials near Hereford, Texas.

The trait will allow grain sorghum growers to control grassy weeds such as foxtail, barnyardgrass, crabgrass and Texas panicum, by using a proprietary herbicide called “Zest,” developed by DuPont. 

This is a non-GM trait, transferred from ALS-resistant shattercane discovered in southwest Kansas nearly a decade ago, according to weed science specialists at Kansas State University. 

The commercial hybrid was developed under a joint agreement between DuPont Crop Protection and Advanta, the parent company of Alta Seeds and one of the world’s largest sorghum genetics companies. Together, they will commercialize the DuPont Inzen Z herbicide-tolerance sorghum trait.

DuPont reckons that annual grass weeds reduce U.S. sorghum yields by about 20% each year; the launch of the new Inzen Z herbicide-tolerant trait, plus Zest herbicide, should help farmers remediate those losses. DuPont expects EPA approval of Zest to occur this fall.

Stewardship practices to sustain the integrity of the technology will be paramount. Advanta and DuPont Crop Protection are working closely with regulatory agencies and local seed and crop protection teams to develop a product stewardship plan for the new seed trait. 

Funds from the sorghum checkoff were used to develop the trait.

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