The Latest Crop Trends

May 4, 2010 08:07 AM


The Commodity Classic Trade Show held March 4–6 in Anaheim, Calif., featured more than 200 companies exhibiting in more than 800 booths. The 2011 event will be held in Tampa, Fla.

Commodity Classic offers farmers a chance to commune, consult and catch up on the latest trends in the corn, soybean, sorghum and wheat industries. Beyond policy challenges, such as trade, climate change and alternative fuel legislation, the annual meeting is the place to learn what will be the next big thing in production agriculture.

Here's a sampling of discussion threads we took home:

Green is growing. Watch for huge growth in agricultural biologicals as new players enter the market. Relative newcomer Novozymes Biologicals of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is a global company marketing several microbial biofertility products and nitrogen-fixing seed inoculants, mostly in the Great Plains states.

This year, the Novozymes BioAg division expands its reach by intro-ducing a naturally occurring insecticide and a biofungicide to specialty crops. In 2009, the company had 170 field trials in the U.S. on 30 different crops and is doubling that effort in 2010. Watch for row crop biobased inputs to emerge from three core technology platforms: biofertility, biopesticides and bioyield enhancers.

Bayer CropScience brings VOTiVO, the first biobased nematode seed treatment, to corn, soybean and cotton fields. "The product creates a living barrier around plant roots so nematodes have limited access to feed,” says product manager Paul Hewitt. "The same environmental conditions that trigger seed germination also trigger the product's bacterial spores to germinate. From that point on, the bacteria grows and creates a living barrier of protection around the seedling roots.”

EMD Crop BioScience extends the benefits of rhizobia to corn this spring through Torque IF with LCO Promoter Technology. The new formulation of Torque is packaged to premix with bulk liquid starters.

Traits go native. The first drought-tolerant hybrids wend their way to market using native traits to eke the most crop from every drop.

Pioneer Hi-Bred's Drought I hybrids will be planted in 260 real-world farmer trials in eastern Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma this summer. Expect a product launch in 2011, pending successful trials.

Syngenta Seeds expects to commercialize water optimization technology in 2011. For soybeans, the company will offer integrated aphid management through its NK brand for the 2010 planting season. Genetics containing the native RAG-2 trait for aphid tolerance is part of the season-long package.

Refuges continue to shrink. SmartStax, the latest in stacked trait technology from Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto Company, will be planted on 3 million acres this spring. Beyond multiple layers of protection, the new stack offers a 5% reduced refuge (20% in some cotton states). Monsanto announces broad-scale testing of an integrated, refuge-in-a-bag option in 2010 with commercialization potential in 2012, pending regulatory approval. Pioneer's integrated rootworm refuge, Optimum AcreMax 1, awaits a 2010 regulatory thumbs-up, but still requires a refuge for European corn borer.

Agrisure Viptera, the first non-Cry protein in the trait space, is reaching the final phase of commercialization. The novel insecticidal protein will feature two modes of action against lepidopteron corn pests, and Syngenta has filed for a 5% refuge in the Corn Belt.

In the soybean sector, Valent's new Inovate seed treatment system meshes NipsIt Inside insecticide (clothianidin) with Chemtura AgroSolutions' Rancona Xxtra fungicide (ipconazole plus metalaxyl) and is compatible with Becker Underwood (Vault LVL and HP) and EMD Crop BioScience (Optimize 400) inoculants.

Headline AMP, a strobilurin and triazole fungicide combo for corn, is now available from BASF.

Sorghum growers should see at least one of two new over-the-top herbicide-tolerant traits from DuPont Crop Protection by 2012. Inzen, a non-GMO, herbicide-resistant seed, will be matched to ALS and ACC-ase herbicides.

BASF introduces Sharpen, OpTill and Integrity herbicides from the new Kixor family this spring. Sharpen, for corn, small grains, grain sorghum and soybeans, contains the new active saflu-fenacil. OpTill combines the actives of Sharpen and Pursuit (imazethapyr) for use in soybeans. Integrity contains Sharpen and Outlook (dimethenamid) for preplant or pre-emergence in corn.

Bayer CropScience brings a new stable of actives with safeners: Balance Flexx (isoxaflutole and cyprosulfamide), Corvus (isoxaflutole, thiencarbazone and cyprosulfamide), Laudis (tembotrione and isoxadifen) and Capreno (tembotrione, thiencarbazone and isoxadifen). DuPont's Prequel (rimsulfuron and isoxaflutole) is a new corn herbicide premix. Syngenta's Callisto Xtra (mesotrione and atrazine) is a premix product for corn. MON 63410 (acetochlor), from Monsanto, helps tackle herbicide-resistant weeds in soybeans.

You can e-mail Pam Smith at

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