Crop Tech - February 2019

03:42PM Mar 04, 2019
Farm Journal's Crop Tech
Farm Journal's Crop Tech
( Lindsey Benne )

Researchers ID New Resistance Genes for SCN

Plants with resistance to soybean cyst nematode (SCN) shouldn’t allow more than 10% of the nematode population to survive—but that’s not the case. The most common form of SCN resistance, PI 88788, is failing at alarming rates.

Fortunately, Brian Diers, plant breeder at the University of Illinois, found two new resistance genes from wild soybean varieties. He’s created a four-gene stack to control the pest.

Missouri researchers are also testing the gene combo in greenhouse trials.

“When we took the four-gene stack and rotated that with the Peking source of resistance, we were able to slow down SCN reproduction of populations adapted to PI 88788 over generations,” adds Melissa Mitchum, nematologist in the division of plant sciences at the University of Missouri.

Next steps for this four-gene discovery is to get it into today’s genetics. It won’t be difficult for commercial breeding companies to integrate the stack into their lineup because the base germplasm is PI 88788—the oldest and most common form of SCN resistance on the market today, according to researchers.

Don’t worry about yield drag, Diers says—they’ve found it doesn’t exist. In fact, there’s often a yield advantage in fields with high SCN populations.

Helm Agro Adds Soybean Herbicide

Helm Agro announced it’s adding Zone Elite to its Zone lineup. The company says it is tank-mix compatible with fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides and adjuvants.

It’s packaged in 2x2.5-gal. cases and contains group 14 and 15 herbicides. The pre-emergent herbicide has broad-spectrum weed control with an application window of 30-plus days preplant up to three days after planting.

Zone Elite is effective on more than 45 weed species, including grasses and small-seeded broadleaves. In 2019, it will be available to farmers in the Midwest, Northeast and mid-South.

Visit for more information.

Plant Photosynthesis Gets a Boost

Plants are cutting themselves short on yield—and have been for a number of years. Photorespiration robs plants of up to 40% of their yield potential, and researchers are out to regain productivity.

“We could feed up to 200 million additional people with the calories lost to photorespiration in the Midwestern U.S. each year,” says Donald Ort, Robert Emerson professor of plant and crop sciences at Illinois’ Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology. “Reclaiming even a portion of these calories across the world would go a long way to meeting the 21st century’s rapidly expanding food demands.”

Photosynthesis relies on an enzyme called rubisco to turn carbon dioxide and water into sugar that fuels plants, according to Science Daily. However, rubisco doesn’t distinguish the difference between oxygen and carbon dioxide and “grabs” oxygen 20% of the time.

When oxygen is gathered instead of carbon dioxide, it is plant-toxic and must be disposed. Through photorespiration the plant expends a large amount of energy to get rid of that oxygen.

Scientists are altering the route for photorespiration and finding the easier route is boosting plant growth by 40% and creating 50% larger stems in two years of replicated field studies.

It will likely be more than a decade before this discovery is seen in commercial crops.

China Approves Five GM Crops

For the first time in 18 months, China approved the following products for import:

  • Enlist E3 soybeans, jointly developed by Dow Agrosciences and MS Technologies.
  • Dow’s DP4114, Qrome, corn.
  • SYHT0H2 soybeans developed by Bayer CropScience and Syngenta but now owned by BASF.
  • BASF’s RF3 canola.
  • Bayer’s glyphosate-tolerant MON 88302 canola.

After several years of waiting, China’s green light gives U.S. farmers access to another weed management tool. Enlist E3 soybeans include tolerances to 2,4-D choline, glyphosate and glufosinate. Herbicide options for Enlist E3 soybeans include Enlist Duo, a mix of glyphosate and 2,4-D choline, and Enlist One, a straight-goods 2,4-D choline option that can be tank mixed with approved herbicides.

“We are aware the China Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs published on their website the intent to issue safety certificates for the DP 4114 trait and Enlist E3 soybean trait,” said Corteva, the agricultural division of DowDupont, in a statement provided to AgWeb. “We are pleased with this and look forward to receiving the official safety certificates.”

15% of Corn Growers Report Rootworm Issues

Research conducted by Monsanto in 2016 and 2017 shows corn rootworm (CRW) hot spot areas are of particular concern and most prominent in northwest Illinois, northern Iowa, northeast Nebraska and northeast Colorado. A Farm Journal Pulse survey conducted in November 2018 supports that finding.

Researchers say these areas of the country are routinely affected by CRW infestations because they have a long history of continuous corn planting to accommodate livestock feeding or high-production, irrigated fields.

Annually, CRW threatens an estimated 50 million corn acres in the U.S., costing producers $200 million each year in preventive measures and $800 million in yield loss. Research shows every root node nibbled by larvae results in a yield loss of about 15%. In addition, weakened roots can impede harvesting, further reducing grain yield by 15% to 34%, Monsanto reports.

It’s more important than ever to use best management practices, per the National Corn Growers Association Take Initiative program:

  • Plant the required refuge. Take into account the product and your geography: the refuge in corn-growing states is 5% in-bag or a 20% structured refuge, and 20% in-bag or a 50% structured refuge in cotton-growing states.
  • Use insect resistance management strategies. Rotate crops, use pyramided traits, rotate traits, and rotate and use multiple modes of action for insecticide seed treatments, soil-applied insecticides and foliar-applied insecticides.
  • Scout to see if control methods are working and whether there are escapes or possible resistance. Take additional action to control pests when necessary.
Farm Journal Pulse - How significant a problem was corn rootworm in your fields in 2018?

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