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Crop Tech

July 29, 2008

Soybeans that Resist Rust

Varietal resistance has been the holy grail for soybean rust control since the disease began infiltrating fields. Now varieties with resistance to the disease may be around the corner.

Pioneer Hi-Bred International Inc. has identified and incorporated new proprietary molecular markers that are aimed at delivering soybean seed with resistance to soybean rust, soybean aphids and frogeye leaf spot.

Glen Hartman, USDA–Agricultural Research Service research scientist based in Champaign, Ill., is not surprised to see these breakthroughs. "The companies have been working on developing molecular markers for rust resistance since 2001 when it [rust] first hit Brazil,” Hartman says.

To date, properly applied fungicides have been the grower's only defense against Asian soybean rust. Pioneer plans to commercialize soybean varieties containing multiple sources of resistance by 2012 in Brazil and 2013 in the U.S.

Frogeye leaf spot resistant varieties and commercial varieties with resistance to aphids are expected by 2011.

Molecular markers work like genetic road signs—showing scientists where to look on DNA for genes related to a specific trait. Once molecular markers are identified, researchers can use DNA analysis early in product development to screen for the presence of these specific traits. The ability to screen complements field testing and yields more success in research programs.

Input Ouches

"I would sure hate to be a fertilizer dealer this year,” says AgriGold Hybrids agronomy manager Mike Kavanaugh.

He recently surveyed independent fertilizer brokers across the Midwest to get an idea of the upper end of 2009 fertility costs. Can you pencil anhydrous and DAP (18-46-0) at $1,300 per ton?

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FEATURED IN: Farm Journal - Summer 08

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