Seed Options Grow

The seed sector has been very busy, including a key international registration, new technology, and a facility expansion.

  • Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Yield Soybeans OK’d By China

Monsanto Co. has received regulatory approval in China for the importation of Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans. China imports accounted for approximately 38 percent of U.S. soybean exports in 2007, making it the largest purchaser of U.S. soybeans. This approval is a significant step forward in the commercialization of this highly-anticipated soybean technology.

Roundup Ready 2 Yield is the only second-generation biotechnology trait in soybeans to achieve regulatory approvals in the U.S. and key export markets like China, propelling it to be first to market with 2009 commercial sales. It is also the first in a series of game-changing technology platforms Monsanto is poised to launch for soybeans, corn, and cotton.

Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans will be introduced on 1 to 2 million acres for the 2009 season as part of a controlled commercial release, followed by a large-scale product launch of 5 million to 6 million acres scheduled for 2010.

  • DuPont ‘s Laser Technology Speeds Development

DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred has added Laser-Assisted Seed Selection — which will transform seed research and considerably speed up the development of higher yielding corn and soybean varieties — to its Accelerated Yield Technology (AYT) toolbox. The technology promises to increase the size and scope of the Pioneer breeding program five-fold in the next three years.

Laser-Assisted Seed Selection uses a 120-watt carbon dioxide laser to score a small slice from a seed to capture its genetic information while maintaining the seed’s viability for planting. This intensifies the impact of another AYT tool, molecular breeding, enabling the rapid selection of the best genetics for advancement before the seeds ever leave the lab.

Laser-Assisted Seed Selection is a key component in the Pioneer effort to increase the yields of its corn hybrids and soybean varieties by 40 percent within 10 years. Pioneer has numerous patents pending for the technology and will be using it on millions of corn and soybean seeds by the end of 2009.

  • Syngenta Seeds Expands Corn Facility

Syngenta Seeds recently celebrated the expansion of its Waterloo, NE, corn production facility. The company has increased the size of the state-of-the-art facility by 38 percent — from 625,000 to 864,000 units annually.

Syngenta Seeds is upgrading the Waterloo facility to meet the anticipated demand for hybrids with Agrisure traits marketed through the Syngenta seed brands of Garst, Golden Harvest, and NK. Syngenta Seeds is a division of Syngenta. The facility is one of four seed production facility improvement projects for Syngenta in the Midwest.

New features include two new driers, a new/updated husk and sort building, two new receiving areas, and a 120,000-bushel build storage addition. Syngenta incorporated innovative applications of state-of-the-art technology in the expansion like dust control, traffic control, and noise reduction to promote a clean plant environment. The ability to more closely track product through the plant will speed the production process. The facility will produce 100 hybrids per season, up from approximately 75.

Total capital expenditure on the Waterloo expansion is estimated at more than $17.6 million, which includes the facility and site work, land, and equipment. With the expansion, Syngenta anticipates it will hire six additional full-time employees and up to 60 to 80 part-time employees and will likely engage more than 1,200 individuals for the detassling season.

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