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New DuPont Pioneer T Series Soybeans Set for 2013

DuPont Pioneer is pegging its new T Series soybeans as performance
changers with improved agronomic and defensive traits.

The T Series, which DuPont Pioneer officials announced this
week, builds upon the firm’s Y Series of soybean varieties that it launched several
years ago. For 2013, DuPont Pioneer will launch 39 T Series soybean varieties
in seven maturity groups ranging from early 00 to mid-group 5.  

Besides increased performance and defensive traits, the T Series
also will feature stepped-up sales support, says Don Schafer,
DuPont Pioneer senior marketing manager – soybeans.

“This class of products will be
industry leading ones in their maturities and geographies,” says Schafer.

The T series products will be
launched in a year in which farmers are reexamining soybeans.

We had a lot of growers (in
2012) who had half a corn crop and a relatively normal soybean crop, due to
rains in late August and early September,” Schafer says. “There really wasn’t
that much rain, but it was enough to make a difference in soybean yields.
Soybeans can take advantage of those kinds of things.”

Corn, meanwhile, has a narrower time frame for flowering
that can make or break a crop. Pollination lasts up to 14 days. Optimum weather
during this time can greatly enhance yield potential, while hot and dry weather
can torch yield potential. Meanwhile, soybeans have a longer flowering and
podding period, enabling it to better endure weather extremes.

Disease Tolerance

One fortunate stressor that soybeans ducked in 2012 was
disease. A different weather pattern in 2013 could prompt disease levels to
come back, though.

Schafer notes 29 of the T series soybean varieties carry a
major gene that resists Phytophthora root rot (PRR).

In some areas, different PRR races have overcome
PRR-resistant soybeans. It’s in these areas where resistant gene stacks work
well, such as in northern Ohio and the northern Red River Valley of Minnesota
and North Dakota.

White mold is another disease that has receded after massive
infestations in 2009. Still, the right conditions—field inoculum coupled with
cool temperatures, rainfall and good soil moisture—could prompt a rebound.

“White mold is the most challenging disease we have been
dealing with in the marketplace for years,” says Schafer.

He adds DuPont Pioneer has made progress in raising
tolerance levels, but the disease is a complex one, with multiple genes
required to boost tolerance levels.

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is another stressor that’s
stymied soybean growers. Schafer notes the T Series will contain 32
SCN-resistant varieties.

One challenge SCN-resistant varieties have encountered are
SCN types that resist SCN-resistant varieties. One way to overcome this is to
develop SCN-resistant varieties with different resistance sources. Currently,
around 95%-plus of SCN-resistant varieties share the same PI 88788 resistance
source. DuPont Pioneer is diversifying resistance sources with its T Series by
featuring two products with Peking resistance and one with the Hartwig

He notes alternative resistance sources like Hartwig have
been difficult to develop, as some undesirable genes accompany the resistant
gene. However, research breakthroughs have been made to reduce this likelihood,
he adds.

Disease Genes

So far, transgenic technology has been limited to genes that
enable corn and soybeans to resist insects and non-selective herbicides. It may
be possible one day to develop transgenic corn and soybeans that resist disease,
says Schafer.

“We look for genes from different sources,” he says. “We
have looked at many ways to introduce a transgenic gene that basically make
soybeans immune to white mold disease.”

Thus far, nothing has surfaced, but he adds DuPont Pioneer continues
to search.



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