Seed Trait Development Is Hot Item

With today’s emphasis by seed and chemical companies on development of complete crop packages, herbicide development is taking a back seat.

With growers needing to find new ways to take U.S. yields to a higher level to compete with other countries, Rob Neill says increased emphasis needs to be placed on seed treatments, shifting resources to development of new seed traits and developing new pest control compounds.

But one drawback is the fact that it costs up to to $200 million to develop a new herbicide today, says the vice president of marketing at Syngenta Crop Protection. As a result, spending money on research and development is not as attractive as it used to be to ag chemical companies.

Growing Seed Emphasis

As an example of new developments already under way, Neill points to major changes occurring in the soybean business. “The emphasis today is on controlling weeds, insects and diseases,” says Neill. “Growers can look for a number of new solutions over the next 2 years, including increased emphasis on developing total solution packages.”

Having owned NK Brand Seeds for sometime, Syngenta recently purchased Garst Seed Co. and the five Golden Harvest companies. These seed companies give Syngenta a 15 percent share of the corn market and a 13 percent share of the soybean seed market with $600 million in annual revenue. Each seed company will continue to operate as an independent entity, but will reduce costs by sharing operations such as accounting, human resources, seed production and seed research and development.

Roundup Ready Corn

One of the growth areas for the Syngenta seed companies will be taking glyphosate-tolerant corn…

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Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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