In selling its eight-trait SmartStax corn hybrids, Monsanto is not only competing with competitors’ hybrids, but also its own triple-stacked hybrids, says Brett Begemann, the company’s executive vice president for seeds and traits.

“Has this been more challenging than we anticipated?” said Begemann at a Goldman Sachs’ biotech forum in New York in early February. “Yes, it has. But I still feel good about where we will be in the next 2 years.”

Monsanto is selling enough SmartStax seed for about 4 million acres this year. According to a published report in the Des Moines Register, Begemann told analysts that SmartStax is competing against its corn hybrids with triple-stacked traits that it sells through the company’s DeKalb seed brand and subsidiaries like Kruger,Fontanelle and Holden’s.

SmartStax, which both Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences’ Mycogen Seeds are offering this year, received approval from the Environmental Protection Agency for a 5% refuge in the Corn Belt. Other hybrids sold by competitors require an EPA-mandated refuge of 20% in the Corn Belt.

In Other No-Till News

  • The commercialization of biotech wheat is a matter of “when” and not “if” it will happen, says Rebecca Bratten, director of policy for U.S. Wheat Associates. “Our board has directed us to go ahead and commit to the research and commercialization of biotech wheat,” Bratten says.
  • John Deere has introduced a 23-row 2510H nutrient applicator, a 57.5-foot-wide tool that can be used for pre-plant, sidedress and fall fertilizer application.
  • Monsanto has received EPA approval for a new formulation of acetochlor for early post-emergence use in soybeans and cotton. The product will be introduced in Missouri and southern Illinois and areas of the South with glyphosate resistance and other Palmer amaranth and tall waterhemp control problems.
  • EMD Crop BioScience has introduced a new formulation of Torque IF that enhances root development in corn. The label has been expanded to include 2-by-2-inch placement and in-furrow applications of Torque IF.
  • TeeJet Technologies is offering a new Matrix 570 VT Interface with a 5.7-inch touch screen, It has introduced a kit with a IC18 Isobus Sprayer Electronic Control Unit, BoomPilot automatic boom-section control module and all cables and connections to operate with John Deere, Case IH or Agco virtual terminals.
  • DuPont has applied for registration of its penthiopyrad-based Veristan fungicide, which will provide broad-spectrum disease control in soybeans, wheat and barley. DuPont anticipates launching the product as early as 2011.
  • Raven Industries has introduced Slingshot, which offers GPS users advanced RTK correction and high-speed Internet access. There is no line-of-sight limitation with Slingshot because its base-station antenna only needs to see the sky.
  • u Ag Leader has added the SureVac electric row shutoff to its lineup of planter section shutoff devices, saying it’s easy to install and requires zero maintenance.
  • Trimble now offers EZ-Surface software specifically designed for farm surface and subsurface drainage applications. The software works with the Autoslope feature of Trimble’s AgGPS FieldLevel II system.
  • Pioneer Hi-Bred will grow Plenish high-oleic soybeans under contract for testing this year and anticipates commercialization of Plenish in 2012. It says the oil trait has one of the highest oleic contents among seed crops and contains lower total saturated fats than conventional soybeans.