JOHNSTON, Iowa — A new series of Pioneer brand soybeans is
the end-result of the company’s unique breeding process that expedites delivery
of products to the marketplace.
Through the Accelerated Yield Technology process, the new T
Series soybeans are available for the upcoming growing season. The initial
launch features 39 new soybean products over seven maturity groups.
T Series products represent the largest number of soybean
varieties advanced in a single year by Pioneer and succeed the Y Series soybeans
introduced several years ago.
“For the past five years, we’ve had a really successful
product line — the Y Series. It has been well received, had excellent
performance and there was a lot of good things about it,” Les Kuhlman, DuPont
Pioneer senior research scientist, soybean product development, said at the
company’s annual two-day media event.
“What’s next is the T Series soybeans, the next generation
of varieties that have been produced through our breeding program. One of the
hallmarks of the new T Series is the leverage of the new technology. Increased
investment in research is driving the limits of yield potential, agronomic
traits and disease resistance.”
Employing environment-specific markers to help optimize
yields by geography, the AYT process pinpoints native trait genes for increased
defensive trait protection and improved pest resistance packages tailored for
AYT employs novel trait integration through a proprietary
matrix of gene mapping, molecular breeding technologies and intense local field
testing. The system is a key part of a comprehensive plan to accelerate yield
gain and broaden resistance to key diseases and insects.
Among the new class of T Series soybeans, 34 varieties will
carry the Roundup Ready gene. There are two new Plenish high oleic varieties,
five new products with the LibertyLink gene and two new varieties with the
Roundup Ready/STS stack.
Also, 32 products are soybean cyst nematode resistant and 29
carry a major phytophthora-resistant gene. All T Series products will be
available with Pioneer Premium Seed Treatment products.
Kuhlman said the T in the series stands for “technology,
trust and tested.”
“The Y Series used many components of AYT, but the T Series
has been able to leverage all of them. What is really exciting about the T
Series is it’s using all of the newest technologies to produce a product,” he
said. “We can produce products a lot faster that yield more.”
A second component of the T Series is its development
through localized research, product testing and agronomic expertise, according
“As opposed to using strip trials, we now use (Intensively
Managed Product Advancement, Characterization and Training) locations. These are
plots that may be eight rows of 60 feet, planted by Pioneer and harvested by
Pioneer in over 1,000 locations across North America,” he said.
“That’s much different than we’ve had in the past, and that
type of precision information is how we’re able to advance these products and
know where they fit and have confidence that they fit there.”
Another key to the tested concept is expanded research.
“We’ve added five research centers for soybeans over the
past two years. That’s really going to drive the future of research for us,”
“We also have more agronomists in the field today than we’ve
had before, so we’re taking those best practices to the customer, so that we
give them the best product and they have the best information for those
He said the third component of the T Series soybeans is
sales professionals working with growers to develop tailored solutions under the
“right product, right acre” philosophy.
“It’s delivering that convenience, confidence and peach of
mind that growers expect,” he said. “Our local sales professionals are the boots
on the ground, but it’s not just them.
“We have account managers, territory managers, agronomists,
research teams, technical teams and production teams, along with local sales
professionals, that are helping translate the information and knowledge to the
Kuhlman provided details of the AYT process and its three
technologies that are core to the process that developed the T Series soybeans.
“AYT is a proprietary matrix of breeding technologies. It’s
an umbrella for a lot of different technologies,” he said.
Among the technologies is the forward breeding of native
“We currently have over 50 traits available for market
assisted selection,” Kuhlman said. “MAS has been around a while, but its impact
is felt more today than it has in the past. This allows you to use that genetic
information and only select the ones that have the traits of interest.
“Each breeder is able to look at all of the different
defensive needs that they have in their region to make sure all those varieties
are front-loaded with those traits before they even go to the field.
“The second component of AYT that is really making waves and
really changing how we do things is Context Specific Mapping for yield.
“Yield is our most important trait, and it’s also our most
difficult trait to work with. That’s the balance we live in. We’re leveraging
this for yield, and it makes us able to select for yield like we would native
traits, so before we ever put it in the field, we can see how it would do for
“We’re able to front-load a breeding program with those
things that actually have yield, just like we would with trait markers. It’s
very resource intensive. It’s very difficult to do, but the payoffs are huge.
That is a core AYT technology that we use in soybeans.”
The third part of AYT is whole genome predictions, providing
predictions for quantitative traits that make forward breeding more effective.
It allows early generation screening and allows selection
progress to be made when phenotypic data is unavailable due to the
“For example, we did not have a big sudden death syndrome
year for soybeans in 2012. It was dry and not good conditions,” Kuhlman said.
“We can create predictions based on years we had really good
data and just apply them in years that we don’t have data, so it allows you to
consistently evaluate material in a way that you could not before.
“Traditionally, in 2012 we just would not have any data.
Genomic predictions can expand that and create predictions out of excellent data
sets and use them even in years we don’t have data.”
The AYT technology also is among the tools being utilized to
develop drought-tolerant soybean varieties, and Kuhlman is involved in that
“Drought tolerance is important for soybean production in
many areas. I work in Kansas and western Missouri, where we’ve had drought in
the past two years,” he said. “Our colleagues in corn have been real successful
with AQUAmax. They’re really good at what they’re doing and have created a
really good product lineup.
“We’re able to leverage that knowledge. Our colleagues in
corn were able to use their experience in developing managed environments and
phenotypes in order to get ahead of the game.
“It may take us two years to learn what would have taken us
five years without somebody by side telling us how it works, so it’s really
great to have excellent colleagues that can share their experiences from
“There is, obviously, a big difference between corn and
soybeans, so it’s not that we’re doing that, but we are really taking advantage
of data variation.”
Pioneer’s past research has found a broad variation in
“When you apply specific stress and specific times, some
varieties fall apart completely, and some do not, so that’s what we’re looking
for — those varieties that have the stability to make it through those more
difficult times,” Kuhlman said.
“We’re applying precision phenotyping with managed
environments where we might apply stress during flowering or pod fill or any
physiological stage of soybean growth and then determine what happens and how
that soybean reacts.
“It’s an exciting time to be in soybean research. Our AYT
tools allow our breeders to create better products which come to the market
faster. Research today will no doubt pay dividends in performance tomorrow.”