For 2014 reliable choices abound, the future gets more interesting

Growers looking at soybean traits for 2014 will focus on the genetics available and they'll have familiar choices for biotech. Roundup Ready 2 Yield is the go-to glyphosate tolerance trait seed providers are using. "It's always about putting the best-yielding products in farmer's hands and Roundup Ready 2 technology brings some advantages in some types of germplasm to enable getting the best performance to the grower," says Scott Erickson, soybean genetics portfolio manager.

While you'll still be able to find the original Roundup Ready tech in some top-yielding soybeans, the industry is moving toward this newer tech pretty fast. "Roundy Ready continues to be a big player," says Andre Trepanier, DuPont Pioneer senior manager, soybean product marketing. "It's part of our STS management product too." That product allows farmers use sulfonylurea herbicides with those soybeans.

DuPont Pioneer reached an agreement with Monsanto earlier in 2013 to bring Roundup Ready 2 tech to its soybeans. "We'll have the technology available in a pretty broad range of varieties from 00 to Group 5," Trepanier says.

The hot product some were looking for in soybeans - Roundup Ready 2 Extend which would confer dicamba resistance to the soybean is on hold pending an Environmental Impact Statement from USDA's Animal, Plant and Health Inspection service. The move has pushed the introduction for the new product to 2015.

The same holds true for Dow Agroscience's Enlist technology that brings 2,4-D tolerance to crops. While corn was to be the first and the rollout was aimed for 2014, the EIS has pushed the Enlist launch to 2015 as well.

“Pending regulatory approvals, Dow AgroSciences will introduce Enlist corn, Enlist soybeans and Enlist E3 soybeans in 2015. Enlist E3 soybeans are being jointly developed by M.S. Technologies and Dow AgroSciences,” says Damon Palmer, U.S. commercial leader for the Enlist Weed Control System. “These Enlist crops will provide growers tolerance to Enlist Duo herbicide, a proprietary blend of new 2,4-D choline and glyphosate. In addition, Enlist corn will provide tolerance to FOP herbicides and Enlist soybeans and cotton will provide tolerance to glufosinate.”

In the meantime, Dow AgroSciences is working on stewardship and training in advance of the launch. “Enlist Ahead is a management resource that will help growers, retailers, seed sellers and applicators,” Palmer says. “They will get the technology advancements, management recommendations, and education and training they need to adopt and use the Enlist system with confidence. One training opportunity is the Enlist 360 field training. This summer, Enlist 360 offered education and training on Enlist at five regional Technology Centers. We also worked with growers across the Midwest to experience the technology through on-farm research plots.”

For 2014 the go-to tech for soybeans will be Roundup Ready, Roundup Ready 2 Yield and Liberty Link offering producers choices for mode of action management for best weed control.

There are other tech-based opportunities too. Trepanier points to DuPont Pioneer's Plenish soybeans. "We continue to work hard on Plenish and develop our line. He notes that the company is working to broaden the geography where the Plenish trait will be available, the high oleic/low-linoleic acid soybeans have a range of potential trait benefits for food processors and industry.