Dow, Monsanto combine herbicide, insecticide traits

New control | Glyphosate, 2,4-D and rootworm tolerance mixed

Dow and Monsanto are working together on a new trait combination that puts glyphosate and 2,4-D tolerance together with Monsanto’s yet to be released, third generation, RNA interference-based rootworm technology.

Breeding additional agronomic traits into the latest plant varieties and strains has been the cornerstone of the crop genetics industry for 12 years.

Herbicide resistance, when combined with “baked-in” insecticide capacity, has reduced the use of many pesticide products. The practice is a hit with farmers because it lowers their costs and the hazards of handling those products.

For example, Monsanto and other trait developers currently place bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) protein genetics, in a single or dual mode of action, into the corn genome to foil corn pests.

Dow and Monsanto teamed up in 2007 to release Smartstax, the Dow multi-trait introgression of herbicide tolerance and insect protection. It was a combination of hybrid corn, soybean and cotton genetics, Monsanto’s Yield Guard Triple and Roundup Ready genetics and Dow’s Herculex Xtra and Liberty Link.

The combination provides weed and insect control above and below the soil. Only three traits added to a single crop plant were available before that eight stacked trait release.

However, this isn’t a silver bullet. Monsanto says other methods of control can be required, depending on the circumstances, and cultural practices of crop rotation and other pesticides are encouraged to reduce resistance development.

Garry Hamlin of Dow said major changes are on the horizon for crop genetics.

“The days of the single trait (added to a) crop are over. If you are using one method of control on the same weed or the same insect, whether it is chemical or cultural practice, or set of practices, then you are stimulating resistance.”

Hamlin said producers need to follow best practices and combine them with new tools for pest control if they want to avoid resistance problems.

Dow and Monsanto plan to share the yet to be released Monsanto Corn Rootworm Three, non-B.t. insect technology and the new Dow 2,4-D-Enlist herbicide tolerance, which controls volunteer crops and a wide variety of weeds that are not glyphosate, glufosinate or 2,4-D tolerant.

Jeff Loessin of Dow said the two agriculture giants are working together but still competing.

“We each will be pairing the stacked technology with our best germplasm,” he said about Dow’s Mycogen seed brand and Monsanto’s Genuity.

Hamlin agreed.

“This isn’t reducing the number of players fighting for the farmers’ business. We are going to be just as fierce when it comes to trying to take away their customers when it comes to seed,” he said.

“This is more about (research and development).… This leverages our research budgets in these areas. It costs us about $135 million and 13 years to bring new technologies to market. Working together, farmers are getting more tools, faster.”

new products

Deere sees more

John Deere has expanded its original remote soil moisture probe to include a suite of environmental sensors.

The remote soil moisture unit, called Field Connect, was new for the company last fall, and it has added a weather station, rain gauge, thermometer, wind gauge and leaf wetness sensor. The soil moisture is measured using capacitance sensors.

Data from the field sensor is sent to a secure website, where producers can pick up the information. The system can be set to send alerts to producers’ cellphones and can be used to track weather and soil moisture data over time.

It is solar powered and relies on satellite and cellular communications to build and send the data.

Deere said the system is aimed at higher value crops and irrigation operations and will also find a home on remote farming locations.

The system costs about $2,500.

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Smartphones and tablets

John Deere has introduced a set of cab mounts for smartphones and tablet computers.

The proliferation of communications and computing tools has prompted the company to go beyond docking stations. It is now offering Deere sanctioned mounting brackets.

The brackets are designed to fit into the existing mounts present in most later model Deere tractors, sprayers and combines.

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Treating canola

DuPont has a new way to protect canola from flea beetles and cutworms.

Lumiderm is a Group 28 diamides cyantraniliprole, which releases calcium stored in insects’ muscles to cause impairment and death.

The product was registered for early season control of the pests and provides 28 to 35 days of control.

The new mode of action provides for rotation opportunities with other seed treatments that use neonicotinoids insecticides, such as Helix Xtra’s thiamethoxam.

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Baby blue

New Holland has released its new small tractor T5 line with three tractors from 98 to 115 horsepower.

The smaller machines get a new cab, dubbed the Visionview.

Designed to provide loader, three-point hitch and yard and feeding tool users the ability to navigate tight spaces, the cabs also have a single point of operation for most of the tractor’s controls.

An optional clear roof panel opens up the view from the cab for loader operation, allowing the producer to see it lift through its full range.

A new 3.4 litre engine from Fiat Powertrain Industrial relies on cooled EGR to keep its emissions Tier 4A compliant.

The engine was designed for agricultural applications, developing full power at 1,900 r.p.m., and that is paired to the unit’s 540 r.p.m. p.t.o. speed.

A more economical r.p.m. can be achieved by selecting a second p.t.o. gearing that results in 1,535 r.p.m. of engine speed, while maintaining 540.

An optional high output 33.6 gallon per minute set of pumps, 22.2 for the implement pump and 11.4 for the steering is available.

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