A Review of Herbicide-Tolerant Soybean Trait Options for 2020

Source: Emily Unglesbee, DTN

Farmers have a range of choices when it comes to herbicide-tolerant soybean technology in 2020 — up to seven different traits.

When selecting seed, remember that disease, insect tolerance and other genetic characteristics should still top your soybean shopping list. But with the growth in herbicide-resistant weeds, weed control is a crucial part of soybean profitability, and herbicide-tolerant traits can be an important tool.

Moreover, the growing web of different herbicide-tolerant crops planted across the country has made it more important than ever to know what is in the variety you are growing — and what’s in your neighbor’s. So here is the latest information on the status and availability of each different trait option, organized by herbicide-tolerant genetic platform:

1. ROUNDUP READY TECHNOLOGY

ROUNDUP READY 1

The original glyphosate-tolerant Roundup Ready trait have been off patent since 2015. Although Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, phased the trait out of its seed stock years ago, the trait is still available from university breeding programs and some smaller, localized seed suppliers. Because the trait is off patent, growers who use RR1 soybeans can save them for seed. Growers interested in finding varieties with the RR1 trait should check with their local universities and state seed associations for information on availability.

ROUNDUP READY 2

After phasing out RR1, Monsanto focused on its glyphosate-tolerant Roundup Ready 2 platform. The trait remains a standalone option for growers in 2020, and will likely continue to be available for a few more years, either from Bayer seed brands and other seed companies that license the trait, albeit in smaller and smaller numbers, said Bayer Soybean Portfolio Lead Ryan Rubischko.

Ultimately, Bayer is shifting its breeding pipeline to the RR2 Xtend platform, said Wes Hays, Bayer germplasm and deployment lead.

RR2 XTEND

Glyphosate and dicamba-tolerant RR2 Xtend soybeans accounted for 60% of the soybeans planted in the U.S. last year, roughly 54 million acres. It’s too early to say if that number will rise in 2020 or — as it is now facing increased competition in the marketplace — stay the same or even decrease, Rubischko noted.

The trait is available in maturity groups ranging from Group 00 through Group 7 from Bayer seed brands and more than 100 licensees, he noted.

Growers who use RR2 Xtend varieties in 2020 should be aware that the corresponding herbicides, XtendiMax, Engenia and FeXapan, face an increasingly complicated number of use restrictions.

In 2018, EPA released a new set of restricted use pesticide (RUP) labels for these herbicides with restrictions on when and how growers can use them. Another herbicide, Tavium, was registered in 2019 for use in the Xtend system, with a similar set of restrictions.

However, after the third consecutive year of off-target dicamba injury reports — including record levels in Illinois and Indiana — some states are taking measures to further restrict dicamba use in 2020. Most recently, Illinois has announced a 24(c) label with a June 20 cutoff date and an 85 degree cutoff for dicamba next year. (See more here: https://www.dtnpf.com/…)

XTENDFLEX

Bayer’s next generation of soybean herbicide-tolerant trait technology is XtendFlex. These soybeans can tolerate over-the-top use of glyphosate, dicamba and glufosinate. The technology was used under stewardship in 2019 in Bayer’s Ground Breakers program, but the company hopes it will be fully commercialized in 2020. The only remaining obstacle to full commercialization is EU import approval of the trait, Rubischko noted.

“We’re hoping for a late spring of 2020 approval of XtendFlex with the EU,” he said. “Given that anticipated timeframe, we could see an introductory launch of XtendFlex for the 2020 season.”

The company has XtendFlex soybeans available in a broad range of maturity groups for 2020, but the timing of that EU approval will determine what volumes are available in what regions, added Hays. Given that these soybeans contain the Roundup Ready, Xtend and Liberty Link traits, growers should have a range of herbicide options to use over the top of them legally in 2020, he added.

Ultimately, the XtendFlex trait is expected to inherit RR2 Xtend’s “throne” as the basis for Bayer’s soybean breeding portfolio in the coming decade. “We’ve shifted breeding efforts from RR2 to the Xtend platform and we’ll start to shift that to XtendFlex in the future,” Hays said.

2. LIBERTY LINK TECHNOLOGY

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Considerations for 2019 Wheat Planting

Source: Andy Michel, Laura Lindsey, Pierce Paul, OSU

With the autumn rapidly approaching, wheat planting is likely to begin soon. Planting after the Hessian fly free date remains the best chance to avoid issues with insects and diseases, as well as helping ensure good agronomic quality.  Some benefits of the fly free date:

Hessian Fly: Adults of the Hessian fly lay eggs in emerging wheat. These eggs then hatch into small larvae that feed before spending the winter as a flaxseed. The early autumn feeding will stress the young wheat plant right before the winter, resulting in stunted and wilted plants.  Very little egg laying occurs after the fly free date, which helps to limit infestation. Wheat varieties with resistance against the Hessian are available, in addition to seed treatments, which can help limit damage.

Aphids: Two main aphids infest wheat in Ohio: the English grain aphid and the bird cherry-oat aphid.  These aphids rarely cause economic injury on wheat from feeding. However, they can transmit several viruses that can severely impact wheat including Barley Yellow Dwarf virus.  These aphids do not only feed on wheat, but several other grasses that serve as natural sources of viruses.  If wheat is planted too early, and emerges before the aphids overwinter or stop feeding, they can be early transmitters of viruses.  Although seed treatments could help kill the aphids, they may survive long enough to transmit the virus to the plant.  Any transmission in the autumn would likely serve as a local source in the following spring.

Other foliar diseases: Although not directly related to the Hessian Fly, planting after the fly free date also helps to reduce the early establishment of leaf diseases like Stagonospora leaf blotch and powdery mildew. Planting date is indirectly linked to spore production by fungi that cause these diseases and infection of young plants. The earlier you plant, the more spores are available, and the more suitable (warmer) conditions are for infection. Fall infections often leads to more damage and greater yield loss in the spring, especially of susceptible varieties are planted and not protected with a fungicide at Feeks 8 (flag leaf emergence). As conditions become cooler after the fly free date, pathogens that cause leaf diseases become last active, and as such, are less likely to infect plants.

Perspectives on 2019 Corn and Soybean Acres: Impact of Prevent Plant

Source: farmdoc daily(9):151, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, August 15, 2019.

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture released county acreages for crops and prevent plantings based on acreage reports filed by farmers.  Even though prevent plant totaled 19 million acres in the United States, planted corn acres in 2019 are only slightly lower than 2018 values.  With notable exceptions, corn acres decreased in counties that had large areas of prevent planting and increased in acres with little prevent planting.  Soybean acres fell over the vast majority of counties in the United States.

FSA Acreage Data

FSA released their first set of 2019 county-level acreage data on August 1 (see Crop Acreage Data of FSA).  This data indicated that there were 85.9 million acres of corn planted in the United States, down by 1% from the 2018 plantings of 86.4 million acres (see Table 1)

The 2019 planting number (85.9 million acres) is expected to increase as FSA continues to update values monthly until January 2020.  From 2011 to 2018, corn acreage in the final January report averaged 1.8% higher than the initial August report.  However, in recent years, the increase has been much lower.  From 2016 to 2018, the January value was .7% higher than the initial August value.  A 1.3% increase – the average from 2011 to 2018 – would increase 2019 planted corn acres to 87.4 million acres.  A .7% increase – the average from 2016 to 2018 – would increase planted acres to 86.4 million acres, roughly the same as the planted acreage for 2018. Continue reading

Ohio NRCS Announces Disaster Recovery Funding to Plant Cover Crops on Flooded Cropland Acreage

NRCS just announced a new Disaster Recovery Funding program.  This funding will be administered through the EQUIP program.  Signup with Doug at the NRCS office beginning Monday.  Many of the details are not available yet.  Click on the link below for more details.

FY19 OH EQIP Disaster Recovery NR2

Soybean Prevent Planting Decisions in Middle June, Cover Crops, and MFP Payments

Source: farmdoc daily (9):114

Click here to watch Dr. Schnitkey’s video

Farmers across the Midwest can now take prevent planting payments on soybeans, as final planting dates for crop insurance purposes have arrived. Our comparisons suggest that planting soybeans do not have higher returns than taking a prevent planting payment given a high coverage level on crop insurance. However, the risk for lower returns from planting as compared to taking the prevent planting payment is limited as crop insurance provides a floor on revenue.  These risks become greater the later soybeans are planted in the late planting period. The economic advisability of planting soybeans depends on receiving Market Facilitation Payments and no additional Federal aid for prevent planting acres.  Our current projections indicate that returns from either prevent planting or planting soybeans will not cover costs and working capital will be eroded. At the end of this article, links to YouTube videos provide the latest information on cover crops and the Market Facilitation Program as well as a general background on preventing planting.

Yield Declines and Soybean Prevent Plant Decisions in 2019

Final planting dates for soybeans have passed in all the Corn Belt (see farmdoc dailyMay 7, 2019). For Illinois, the final planting date is June 15 for northern Illinois counties and June 20 for central and southern Illinois counties. After reaching the final planting date, farmers can take soybean preventing plant payments on farmland that was intended to be planted to soybeans if they had purchased a COMBO crop insurance plan (Revenue Protection (RP), RP with harvest price exclusion, and Yield Protection). Farmers can continue to plant soybeans, however, the crop insurance guarantee goes down 1 percent per day for each day after the final planting date during the late period. In Midwest states, the late planting period lasts 25 days after the final planting date.  After the late planting period, soybeans can still be planted, but the guarantee is 60% of the original revenue guarantee.

A key to evaluating the plant versus prevent plant decision is assessing yield losses from late planting. A comparison of double-crop soybean yields to full-season soybean yields in southern Illinois provides some indications of yield declines with late planting. Yield data were obtained from Illinois Farm Business Farm Management (FBFM). From 2012 to 2019, double-crop soybean yields averaged 38 bushels per acre, 75% of the average full-season yield of 51 bushels per acre (see Table 1).

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Mid to Late June Prevented Planting Decisions

Source:Ben Brown, Sarah Noggle, Barry Ward, OSU Extension

Consistent rains across Ohio and the Corn Belt continue to delay planting progress as the June 17 USDA Planting Progress report showed that 68% of intended corn acres and 50% of intended soybean acres have been planted in Ohio. Nationwide, roughly 27 million acres of corn and soybeans will either be planted or filed under prevented planting insurance. Across Ohio, the Final Plant Date (FPD) for soybeans is June 20. Soybeans can be planted after the FPD, but a one percent reduction in the insurance guarantee occurs. This brief article outlines economic considerations for soybean prevented planting under three scenarios: planting soybeans on corn acres, planting soybeans late, and taking prevent plant soybeans. There are three sections to this article: a brief market update on corn and soybeans, a policy update on Market Facilitation Payments, and then finally the scenarios listed above. This article contains the best information available as of release, but conditions may change. Farmers should check with their crop insurance agents when making prevented planting decisions. OSU Extension is not an authorizing body of federal crop insurance policies.

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How to store treated seed

Source: Anne Dorrance,  OSU Extension

Let me say upfront that much of the information in this piece is based on a study published (Crop Science 53:1086-1095 in 2013) by Dr. Susan Goggi’s lab and others at Iowa State University, Dept. of Agronomy & Seed Science Center. As a scientist, we store both untreated and treated seed over years, but it is healthy and it is in cool and always dry conditions.  But this year we have several issues.  The seed raised in 2018, due to the rains through our long drawn out harvest, left a lot to be desired.  Last week, we had one day to plant and now we are making decisions on what to do with the seed we purchased that is treated.  Treated seed cannot enter the market and must be disposed of through planting, incineration, or burial based on the label. All of these are costly.

In a study at Iowa State, they compared 24 different seed lots which were treated with a fungicide, fungicide plus insecticide and not treated under 3 conditions: 1) a warehouse; 2) a climate controlled cold storage (50 F, ~60% RH); or 3) warm storage (77 F, ~31 % RH). The seed itself was high germination (95 to 98% germination), dry (<8%), and there was a very low percentage of seedborne pathogens.

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Record Setting Rainfall

Source: Farm & Dairy

May 2019 was the second-wettest month in U.S. history.

Drenching rains and historic flooding last month contributed to a record-wet, 12-month period, from June 2018 through May 2019, according to the latest climate report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.

For Ohio, it was the wettest year on record in the last 124 years. (Scroll down for a chart with historical perspective of Ohio’s rainfall totals.)

Soggy conditions from June 2018 through May 2019 led to the wettest 12-month period on record in the U.S., with 37.68 inches, 7.73 inch above average. The previous June-May record was 35.47 inches and occurred from June 1982-May 1983. The previous all-time 12-month record was 36.20 inches and occurred from May 2018-April 2019.

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Governor DeWine Requests USDA Disaster Designation for Ohio Farmers Impacted by Heavy Rainfall

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting a USDA Secretarial disaster designation for Ohio amid heavy rainfall impacting Ohio farmers.

In his letter, Governor DeWine notes that record rainfall through the spring planting season has been devastating to Ohio farmers, with flooding and saturated fields preventing them from planting crops. Only 50 percent of Ohio’s corn crop and 32 percent of Ohio’s soybean crop have been planted as of June 10, 2019.

“The harsh reality for Ohio farmers is that many acres will remain unplanted,” Governor DeWine said. “Our dairy and livestock sectors also face serious forage and feed shortages. We recognize the tremendous challenges facing our agricultural community, and we are working to identify any and all sources of possible relief.”

The letter is a formal request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a USDA disaster declaration for Ohio so that assistance can be made available to Ohio farmers.

“I visited with several farmers this week and saw firsthand the impact of this devastating rainfall. Fields are visibly filled with water and weeds instead of crops,” said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Dorothy Pelanda.

Excessive rainfall presented challenges as early as last fall. Because of poor field conditions, some 2018 crops are still in the field and yet to be harvested. Currently, producers are dealing with erosion of their cropland, delayed fieldwork and planting, manure application challenges, and concerns among livestock producers that forages will be in short supply.

Farmdoc Webinar on Prevent Plant/Late Planting Decisions

A webinar on prevent planting was conducted on June 12, 2019. Items include:

1. Todd Hubbs provided market outlook: Bullish corn, bearish soybean
2. Jonathan Coppess provided a policy outlook: Still uncertainty on Market Facilitation Program and Disaster Assistence Programs
3. Gary Schnitkey provided farmer decision making: Corn planting is coming to the end, Don’t plant soybeans on corn prevent plant acres, little downside and upside on planting on planting soybeans on intended soybean acres for the next week.

The webinar video is available on our YouTube Channel now (Click Here)

Two more webinars will be conducted on the next two Wednesdays (June 19, June 26) at 8:00 am (Central Time).  Click here to register.