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Programs Underway to Support Soybean Seed Production in Canada
Chances are you’ve been eyeing your soybean competitors in Brazil and Argentina in recent years. You’ll have to look northward, too, for new competitors. Canadian farmers are rapidly adopting soybeans in their rotations. Nationally, Canadian soybean acreage rose 10.5% from 2012 to a record 4.6 million acres in 2013.
To support this acreage, there’s a need for more seed. Here’s what two U.S.-based seed companies are doing in Canada.
Mike Nailor, DeKalb Monsanto corn and soybeans lead for Canada, says the DeKalb brand of soybeans has more than doubled in sales in the past two years. Of these, at least 95% are Roundup Ready varieties.
DeKalb 23-10 is Monsanto’s earliest soybean that’s ready for Saskatchewan growers, Nailor says. It is rated as needing 2,325 heat units for maturity. The company also has two other lines under 2,400 heat units.
New material arriving for seed multiplication in 2014 is earlier and better. It is being rated as needing less than 2,300 heat units, and it should be available for 2015 production.
“We’re trying to figure out where, with the current lineup, soybeans can be grown and to define the edge of failure where they can’t be grown,” Nailor says.
DeKalb’s other approach is focused on its new Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System. This brings dicamba tolerance for soybeans that are stacked with glyphosate tolerance. Monsanto is awaiting approvals for the technology in the U.S. and in China. It already has permission for Canadian introduction.
“That product probably will be available in western Canada for 2016,” he says. “Xtend technology will provide you with a chance to grow soybeans on a farm that already has resistant kochia and, if you don’t have it, to provide a great tool to mitigate the risk of getting it.”
Greg Stokke, DuPont Pioneer business director for western Canada, says the company is launching two soybean varieties of 2,350 heat units with limited seed supply for 2014. The maturity difference between the two would be about one day. The actual growing-season requirement for maturity, he notes, depends on location, altitude, soil, and weather factors.
“We have the lines today that growers want. It’s going to be a matter of natural ramp-up as farmers try soybeans and integrate them into the rotation,” says Stokke. “In the long-term, considering farmgate prices and historic crop insurance yields, soybeans have the potential to be profitably grown everywhere that cereals and pulses are grown today.
“You have over 70 million arable acres on the Canadian Prairies,” he adds. “You can carve out maybe 6 or 8 million acres for soybeans and really not displace a lot of other grain, take a little from each. I do think they’re going to displace pulses and cereals. We’re pretty well educated on growing pulses, so it’s a pretty easy crop to bring into the rotation, as long as the maturity is there.
“We’ll be launching a triple-zero (an early maturing) soybean in the next five years,” Stokke says. “We are earlier in the market today than anyone, and we’re going to a triple-zero soybean that will have much more impact.”