More corn, soybean traits spread across seed companies

Soybeans have more herbicide resistant options across more company choices

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Updated Nov. 5

The latest herbicide resistant trait stacks are spreading across the products of more seed companies and several are working to get Western bean cutworm resistance into their products as quickly as they can.

Seed companies also see increased interest in conventional corn genetics. Here’s a roundup of what farmers will see from the major seed companies serving Ontario.

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Bayer CropScience

Bayer CropScience and its Dekalb brand are bringing 12 new corn hybrids and seven new soybean varieties to the market. Bob Thirlwall, market development agronomist with Bayer said during Canada’s Digital Farm Show that the biggest new trait available is Trecepta, which includes the Western bean cutworm resistance Viptera trait in addition to the VT Double Pro trait that has been on the market for several years.

“That combination of traits is going to add something growers have been looking for for quite some time now, protection for Western bean cutworm,” he said.

Thirlwall says that grower’s attention to detail is increasing each year, with more demands to manage down to the acre.

Somethings to watch for in Bayer CropScience plots next season, says Thirlwall includes the Roundup Ready 2XtendFlex crop system, which includes tolerance to glyphosate, dicamba and glufosinate.

“Growers will be able to spray Liberty over the top of soybean crop for tough-to-kill weeds and spray later in the season weed control.”

Corteva AgriScience

Corteva’s seed brands Pioneer and Brevant continue to add to corn hybrids and soybean varieties in eastern Canada, including the traits that it has developed and new ones from other suppliers to diversify their lineup.

New for 2020 and with more availability in 2021 is the Qrome stack, which Dave Harwood, technical services manager with Corteva, says is available in a full lineup of corn hybrids.

Harwood says balance is important in trait selection, including with genetically modified traits.

“I describe Qrome as striking a better balance between providing really good efficacy against the pest and retaining the most important part of any plant variety and that is maintaining the yield potential,” he said.

Pioneer has been involved in corn rootworm protection since the start of the use of genetic modification to manage the pest, mostly through its Herculex trait, which Harwood says controls rootworm well. It can have a cost to the plant depending on the hybrids in which it is placed.

Qrome strikes a better balance between trait expression and yield, says Harwood. The trait can be used in almost all genetic backgrounds in corn.

Corteva says that Qrome corn hybrids yield about five bushels per acre more than similar hybrids with older trait stacks.

Earliest maturing hybrids have had the most challenges in managing the addition of genetic modified traits. Harwood says Qrome can be used in all the maturities the company has in Canada.

Pioneer and Brevant continue to move the Corteva Enlist E3 herbicide resistance system into its soybeans. Enlist E3 soybeans are resistant to 2,4-D choline, glyphosate and glufosinate and that means that farmers have more weed control options throughout the season.

More companies are now offering traits in corn resistant to western bean cutworm.
photo: iStock/Getty Images

Croplan Genetics and Country Farm Seeds

This will be a transition year for Croplan and Country Farm Seeds as they bring together their seed lines ups after announcing a partnership this summer.

In 2021 the companies will have larger plots to compare the lines from both companies, says Darren McColm, Croplan’s market development manager for Eastern Canada.

“There are growers just hearing about it,” so two seed guides were sent out this fall, but there are references to Croplan in the Country Farm Seeds guide.

Legacy Country Farms Seeds dealers will continue to sell the hybrids and varieties they have in the past, but will also have some access to Croplan seeds depending on supply.

McColm says that Croplan has a wide-range of hybrids, from 87 days to 109 days to maturity. They continue to grow their trait packages, with many of their hybrids available in two or three trait packages. They have a new early season 2500 heat unit corn hybrid with the Duracade trait that helps with corn rootworm control.

The conventional corn market is also significant, says McColm, especially in eastern Ontario where Ingredion at Cardinal has contracts for non-GMO corn.

In soybeans new traits continue to be added including two new Enlist herbicide tolerant trait varieties and three more in 2021.

“We’ll be mixing the lineup between Xtend and Enlist going forward. I think there’s opportunity for both.”

Croplan also recently launched its WinPak concept with two varieties in each bag. The company found a two to three bushel per acre increase in yield with the concept, which puts a high yielding variety and more defensive variety in the same bag.

De Dell

Like other companies, De Dell Seeds is seeing increased demand for conventional, non-GMO hybrids, which are their core business.

Will Trudell, of De Dell Seeds, says that there are more programs demanding conventional corn, such as from feed mills supplying non-GMO poultry feed and Ingredion at Cardinal with non-GMO corn demand.

Most conventional corn, however, continues to be grown for the commodity corn stream, says Trudell.

De Dell also supplies the organic corn seed market.

“On the organic side it is definitely picking up for us. We’ve always had a hard time producing enough organic seed to fill that market. It’s definitely increasing,” he says.

For 2021, De Dell is bringing five new hybrids to market, three on the earlier side of the heat unit spectrum at 2400 and earlier, another at 3200 heat units and a new silage specific hybrid.

“Silage specific is a solid market for us for sure. Livestock guys are very conscious about what they are feeding their animals.”

Trudell says the De Dell Seeds corn lineup has changed significantly over the past five years for the better.

“We’re definitely excited about the genetics and material have to offer right now.”

DLF Pickseed Canada

DLF Pickseed Canada is releasing two new corn hybrids for 2021, which fit at either end of the maturity spectrum.

A new 2100 heat unit hybrid won’t find as much usage in Ontario, but there’s also a new 99 day relative maturity hybrid that will, says Sylvia Megens, manager of product development with DLF Pickseed Canada.

“It is a SmartStax hybrid that is a great dual purpose hybrid meaning it has great silage and grain potential.”

The company uses the Bayer trait platform and has conventional and traited hybrids available in numerous different maturities across Canada.

DLF Pickseed has RRDoublePro and SmartStax traits hybrids and Megens says several Trecepta trait hybrids, which is the new trait stack from Bayer, are being evaluated in the company’s testing system.

“We pride ourselves on the extensive research that we do before we launch them to the marketplace,” says Megens.

DLF Pickseed Canada also has silage specific corn hybrids available.

Maizex Seeds

At the Maizex plot at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, Greg Stewart says that the corn lineup plots showcased above and below ground protection with traits, non-GMO hybrids and silage-specific hybrids.

The soybean plots, branded Elite for the soybean line from the company’s partnership with La Co-op Fédérée showcased traits in soybeans including Roundup Ready 2Yield and Roundup Ready 2Xtend traits along with the Enlist platform.

Agronomy plots made up a big part of Maizex’s display at the show and included information on how Maizex hybrids and varieties respond to different types of management.

“Some of our hybrids really respond to fungicides, some not so much,” he said.

The company also showcased its forage soybeans, which Stewart says are seeing more interest.

“It’s nice to have an option of forage soybeans in your pocket to use.”

Master’s Choice

Choice Seeds, the Canadian importer of Master’s Choice Seeds has one new silage-specific hybrid in its lineup for 2021.

Dwayne Weber, of Choice Seeds, says the company is focused on starch and fibre digestibility, without losing agronomic strength and yield in the field.

That means most of the market for the company is in dairy and meat production for silage, but some poultry and hog farmers also grow their corn for grain because of its digestibility.

The new hybrid for 2021 is MC6070 a 3280 heat unit hybrid that Weber says has “top numbers in starch digestibility and fibre digestibility and yield.”

Pride Seeds

Pride Seeds showcased 13 new corn hybrids at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, which ranged from 2200 to 3400 heat units, and include established and experimental hybrids.

The company has introduced new G4 and G7 series hybrids. The G7 hybrids include above and below ground protection for western bean cutworm and corn earworm, with the ability to spray glyphosate and glufosinate, said Dave Den Boer, manager of product development for Pride Seeds. The G4 hybrids have above ground insect protection, including western bean cutworm and earworm protection and are resistant to glyphosate.

He highlighted the A6757 G8 as the company’s highest performing hybrid in the 3000 heat unit zone, with above and below ground insect production and full herbicide tolerance package.

Den Boer says that Pride tests its hybrids for the multiple uses that they can have on farms. That includes grain, silage, grazing, snaplage and earlage.

“We understand there’s a very strong market for conventional hybrids. We have a very strong lineup with our conventionals, and it ranges from 3500 to 2500 heat unit corn.”

Silage specific hybrids were also planted at the show, ranging from 2100 to 3000 heat unit corn.

In soybeans, Den Boer says the priority is to provide choices and as such they now have Enlist E3 varieties of soybeans, with 2,4-D choline tolerance in their lineup to go with the Xtend varieties tolerant to dicamba. Two new varieties will carry the Enlist E3 trait, PS2120 and PS2720.

Sevita International

Sevita International continues to add its GMO and non-GMO soybean lineup.

At the CDFS, Sandy Hart, business manager with Sevita International, says they were showcasing nine GMO lines that are being added to the company’s AdvancePRO lineup for eastern Canada, including five new Roundup Ready 2Xtend and four Enlist E3 products.

On the non-GMO side a new variety will be available for 2021 called Mirabel, developed at the company’s Inkerman, Ont. location.

“It will be one of the highest protein soybeans in Ontario, with great potential for producers and end users,” said Hart in an interview with Ralph Pearce of Country Guide during CDFS.

The launch of Mirabel in 2021 follows significant introductions in 2019 and 2020 which Hart called “transformative for Sevita” as the company’s proprietary varieties started to take over. “That’s our Panorama, Genesis, Skyline and Candor that will now take on most of the contracted acres. The research pipeline for our non-GM and GM research program is more robust than it’s ever been.”

The company is also registering a non-GMO high oleic oil soybean, a trait that is desirable for frying.

“It’s the first variety of its kind in Canada and we expect to release several of them.”


Syngenta’s NK seed brand continues to expand its corn offerings, including more hybrids with its Viptera trait – the only one effective against western bean cutworm.

Western bean cutworm is now the insect pest considered to be the most economically harmful to Ontario’s corn crop and companies are scrambling to get the Viptera trait into their hybrids. NK already has the Viptera trait in a wide range of hybrids as it is the company that owns it.

Syngenta tests corn at 29 locations across Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba, says Gustavo Gonzalez Roelants, the company’s corn product placement specialist.

Like other companies, NK has packages that allow farmers to choose between above ground insect protection, below ground insect protection, or both.

Agrisure Viptera is the company’s above-ground trait protection system, whereas Agrisure Duracade is the below-ground set of traited protection.

NK is the only company in the market with above and below ground protection including western bean cutworm protection, says Gonzalez Roelants.

Syngenta’s NK brand also continues to roll out more options in its soybean lineup.

Matt Hooyer, soybeans product placement specialist, says that the company believes the strength of its germplasm is allowing it to move new traits into its lineup, including Enlist E3 and Roundup Ready2 Xtend with glufosinate resistance, without sacrificing resistance to diseases.

“We can be nimble in herbicide traits without sacrificing defensive traits,” he says.

For example, 52 per cent of the company’s Enlist E3 soybeans have the Rps3a genetic package that includes resistance to Phytophthora root rot.

Screening for diseases continues to be a focus, whether it include Phytophthora root rot, white mould or sudden death syndrome, says Hooyer.

The company has launched several new soybean varieties including S12-M5X, S20-E3, S18-K2X and S12-J7, all with the Rps3a defensive trait package and available in E3, Xtend and conventional options.

Syngenta puts particular focus on its food grade soybean package including a commitment to increase protein levels, amino acid levels and other output quality traits, says Hooyer. A newer-launched variety, S21-C6, has three percentage points higher protein than competitors.

Updated Nov. 5 to include DLF Pickseed Canada.

About the author


John Greig

John Greig has spent his career in agriculture journalism and communications. He lives on a farm near Ailsa Craig, Ontario. Contact John at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @jgreig



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