October 16, 2021

New corn, soybean series offers trait options

DECATUR, Ill. — A new series of corn hybrids and soybean varieties that provide multiple trait options was unveiled at the Farm Progress Show.

Syngenta featured at the show its new Field Forge Series from NK Seeds that will be available for the 2022 growing season. Field Forged Series lineup features 26 total hybrids, including 10 new NK corn hybrids and four new Enogen corn hybrids, and 20 new NK soybean varieties.

“We’re really excited to launch the NK Field Forged Series corn and soybean lineups which is a subset of the corn and soybean portfolios that we have. These are really the best products that we have to offer to help maximize return on investment and maximize growers’ yields,” said Joe Bollman, NK corn product manager.

“These products have been proven over multiple years. They have sound agronomics, whether it’s disease tolerance, stalk strength, root strength, and are broadly adapted to help manage the environmental challenges that we have with a consistent performance year-in and year-out.

“We have products from 80 days to 117 days and different footprints in the United States. The soybean portfolio also has products that are both on the XtendFlex platform, as well as the Enlist E3 platform that has sound agronomics to provide strong resistance phytophthora and soybean cyst nematode, but also has the flexibility for growers to choose the herbicide platform to their liking.”

Each Field Forged hybrid had to meet a number of strict requirements to be included in the launch class, including strong root rot resistance, stalk strength, tolerance of critical diseases and broad adaptation, according to Bollman.

The traits in the new series provide multiple pest and disease management options to aid in the ever-changing resistance battle.

“From a soybean standpoint we have products that are designated as Field Forged in either category — XtendFlex or Enlist E3. It’s important at NK that growers have a choice,” Bollman noted.

“Weed management shifts, herbicide resistance, it’s something that’s important and is evolving every year, and every geography is different on which of the chemistries works best for them. So, with NK they really have their best option and can choose whatever fits best in their farming operation.

“From a disease aspect, whether it’s the Field Forged for corn or soybeans, they have strong disease tolerances from the major diseases — northern corn leaf blight, gray leaf spot and so forth — and have that as your foundation. You hear about resistance and over-lapping modes of action like we’ve talked about in weeds for over a decade.

“Those terms are starting to come into insects and diseases, as well such as corn rootworm management. It’s not just plant a traited product and you’re good. You need to rotate acres or use a soil-applied insecticide, as well such as Force. It’s becoming more in the management than control because the pests are winning and they’re going to continue to win.”

Ongoing Challenges

Managing insect and disease pressure and resistance has become more and more challenging over the years.

“That’s the exciting part in our job and that’s where I come back to the Field Forged. It’s the best of the best that we have to mitigate that risk for growers because we know there’s going to be different weather every year. Pest populations shift up and down. There’re pockets this year that have the highest rootworm pressure they’ve probably had in a half dozen years.

“We have to make sure we have those traits and those technologies. And we have to be ahead of it in our research and development pipeline for what’s coming from pest challenges. Tar spot is a fairly new disease that we’ve been dealing with in the central Midwest. So, making sure we have good tolerance and good breeding for new challenges that continue to come upon us.”

With the ever-evolving shifts in pest and disease management, Bollman was asked how Syngenta’s research and development arm prepares for future problems in fields.

“A lot of it is talking with growers. Growers are still our foundation for us on where we need to go with products and developing it. And then there are the consequences of changing farming practices. Twenty years ago we were using a lot of soil-applied insecticides and we went to traits and now we’re seeing more secondary pests than we had 10 or 15 years ago just because we’re not using those insecticides,” he said.

“We always have those changes and from my role what’s really exciting is what new technology can we help bring out. So, we bring out Agrisure Viptera which is the best above ground insect trait in the world, bringing our technology such as Enogen that helps improve feed efficiency or efficiency in ethanol plants to help deliver growers more return on investment.

“That’s what is exciting and driving our R&D engine is how can we continue to make the farmers more successful, more profitable because that’s really our foundation of anything we do. We have to ask questions before we go into the market and those questions are to growers.”

Tom Doran

Tom Doran

Field Editor