Bayer CropScience has announced the commercial launch of LibertyLink soybeans for the 2009 growing season. The new trait will be available through more than 85 seed companies. Seed will be available initially for approximately 1 million acres in relative maturity from 0.5 to 4.9.

“Growers will have access to LibertyLink varieties that are competitive with commercial standards and finally will be able to alternate herbicide-tolerant technologies in soybeans,” says Andy Hurst, product manager, herbicide-tolerant traits and Ignite herbicide at Bayer CropScience.

Soybeans with the new trait will be tolerant to Bayer's Ignite herbicide (glufosinate), which controls more than 120 broadleaf weeds and grasses, according to the company. Ignite is now labeled for use on all LibertyLink crops including new LibertyLink soybeans. Ignite's cost is estimated at $11/acre, which is comparable to branded Roundup products.

By rotating to LibertyLink soybeans, growers have over-the-top weed control with Ignite. In addition, growers have another tool to manage weed resistance by rotating to another mode of action for weed control.

The company expects to further expand its licensing agreements to provide additional LibertyLink soybeans in more elite germplasm in 2010 and beyond. The LibertyLink trait is now available for soybeans, corn, cotton and canola.

“The LibertyLink trait helps set the foundation for our current portfolio as well as future introductions,” Hurst says.