Crop Tech

May 16, 2009 02:22 PM

Optimum Spat

There's a new seed spat, and this time it has to do with Pioneer Hi-Bred's Optimum GAT soybean trait and how it is being stacked with glyphosate tolerance. Monsanto Company has entered into a dispute resolution process with Pioneer, a wholly owned subsidiary of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, to address issues regarding unauthorized use of proprietary Roundup Ready technology, says Ben Kampelman, Monsanto spokesman.

The issue is that the new GAT trait technology combines DuPont's proprietary glyphosate tolerance with acetolactate synthase (ALS) herbicide resistance as well as with Monsanto's Roundup Ready technology. In addition, DuPont plans to launch five new complementary ALS herbicides when the trait receives full regulatory approval.

"We're not saying they can't stack their glyphosate tolerance with their ALS tolerance,” Kampelman says. "What we believe is that Pioneer is not authorized to combine our proprietary Roundup Ready trait together with Optimum GAT in the same seed. Doing so is counter to previously disclosed plans to discontinue use of soybean varieties containing our first-generation Roundup Ready technology.”

Pioneer spokesman Jerry Harrington says the company does not comment on confidential business agreements. "Pioneer announced it will introduce Optimum GAT soybeans in 2011. This introduction timing would allow Pioneer to take advantage of a combination of technologies,” Harrington says. "This approach will combine Pioneer's proprietary Optimum GAT trait with the Roundup Ready trait in elite Pioneer soybean genetics powered by the Accelerated Yield Technology system.” In multiyear, multilocation testing, the combination of these technologies has demonstrated solid yield results and efficacy, he adds.

Optimum Brand Innovations is a new umbrella brand for Pioneer. In 2010, the company plans to launch Optimum GAT corn and Optimum AcreMax 1, a product that allows a reduced insect refuge. These products are not included in the Monsanto dispute.

Know Your Nematodes 

If you grow corn, you've got corn nematodes. Unlike soybean cyst nematode, many of the corn nematode species are native to our soil and were just hanging out waiting for the crop to come along.

There's a sharp increase in awareness and concern about nematode damage in corn, says Greg Tylka, Iowa State University plant pathologist. "Some believe more corn-on-corn production has resulted in increases in damaging population densities. More corn growers are also using transgenic insect-resistant corn, rather than soil insecticides, and some of the soil insecticides may have been suppressing plant parasitic nematodes in the past,” Tylka says.

Corn nematodes are complicated critters. Observing aboveground symptoms isn't enough to devise a management strategy. Soil sampling, species identification and monitoring nematode numbers now need to be on every grower's to-do list.

Learning the difference between needle nematodes and lesion nematodes is as easy as tapping into Iowa State University's new Corn Nematode Crop Adviser Institute module. You can download the learning tool at When you pay the $5 download fee, you'll also receive a copy of the module on CD.


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