By John Dietz
Two new Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean varieties from NorthStar Genetics are ready to enter the market this fall, now that the light has turned green. One is for mid- to long-season growing conditions; the other is for short-season areas.
“That’s the big thing we’re pretty excited about right now,” says Claude Durand, NorthStar Product Development Manager. Over the past four years he has been evaluating hundreds of soybean lines with the Xtend trait in confined trials in Manitoba.
Durand has been with NorthStar for about five years. He works with numerous breeding organizations to introduce and assess new soybean lines for the Western Canadian market. He says working with all these genetics suppliers has provided NorthStar with the largest and most diverse portfolio in the industry.
As well, the company has two other new lines of soybeans with Roundup Ready 2 technology ready to release this fall. One is mid-season; one is an exceptionally early soybean.
“When I began working here, the earliest varieties were in the 2350 CHU maturity range. Now we are looking at new varieties with 2225 CHU ratings, which translates to over 10 days off the days-to-maturity requirements,” Durand says. “Plant breeders have really focused on this market when they saw the potential and have put more and more attention on early maturity in their breeding programs.
Particularly impressive is that while maturity requirements have reduced, these new genetics have increased in yields.”
NorthStar retailers were able to supply two types of soybean seed in 2016 – one line of LibertyLink soybeans and eleven lines of Genuity Roundup Ready 2 soybeans. Relative maturity ranged from early-season 2275 corn heat units (CHU) to long-season 2500 CHU.
NorthStar also had a third type of soybean, with Xtend technology, ready for limited commercial production in 2016. Regulatory issues in the European Union was preventing Monsanto from releasing the technology for commercial growers, but it has recently been approved.
“We are doing wide scale seed production of these Xtend varieties this season, in confined settings to make sure the seed doesn’t end up in the regular commodity chain. We will have lots of Xtend seed for 2017,” says Durand.
“The two Xtend varieties, in terms of yield performance, can match anything that’s on the market.”
Here’s what he can say now about the newest NorthStar varieties.
NSC Starbuck RR2X
Starbuck is rated for 2425 CHU. It is a mid- to long-season variety suited to the eastern Prairies.
“Starbuck is rated as excellent for white mould and very good for iron deficiency chlorosis (IDC). It has the Rps1c gene for root rot resistance. This gene matches with the predominant traces of root rot (phytophthora), so it should have very good resistance.”
NSC EXP 114 RR2X
This impressive, yet-to-be-named variety “is earlier than anything currently on the market with the RR2 trait, and will be the earliest Xtend variety available,” Durand says. NSC EXP 114 RR2X is rated for 2250-2275 CHU. Its early maturity indicates it probably will be named after a Saskatchewan town.
The new herbicide, XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology by Monsanto, can be used with both Xtend varieties. It is already being used in the confined seed production fields. According to one retailer, the 10-litre jug of XtendiMax is SRP $185 this summer.
The full application rate for the XtendiMax herbicide is 0.7 litres per acre, for coverage of 15 acres per jug. The expected cost is about $12/acre.
The main benefits are managing glyphosate herbicide resistance as well as enhanced control of weeds such as kochia, wild buckwheat, volunteer RR canola, and Canada thistle.
“Seed growers who’ve been using it (XtendiMax) this year have been very happy with the weed control, the residual weed control in particular,” Durand says. “They are finding that, by using the XtendiMax herbicide along with Roundup, they’re getting good control. In many cases, they don’t have to make the second field trip for the second flush. There’s less stress, less ruts. That’s a nice bonus to the weed control.”
Seed price differences for the RR2 Xtend soybeans are expected to be “pretty minor” – within $2.00/acre as compared to the RR2s.
“If you don’t have the weed issues, you may still want the new Xtend variety,” Durand says. “If you do need the extra technology for residual weed control, at least it’s available.”
NSC Austin RR2Y
Austin is a mid-season 2375 CHU variety, rated at 00.3 for relative maturity. Disease tolerance is the big feature. “It has very strong white mould tolerance. It’s also got very good IDC tolerance,” he says.
“The variety will be a fit throughout the soybean growing region, particularly in areas where these diseases are a concern.”
“Although having the same maturity rating as NSC Gladstone RR2Y, Austin is better suited for seeding in narrow row spacings due to the white mould resistance. Gladstone, which is a bit more susceptible and bushy, is better suited to row spacing 15 inches and up. For this reason we find these to be good companion varieties for managing risk going into a new growing season.”
NSC Leroy RR2Y
This new Genuity soybean is rated for 2225 CHU or a 000.6 relative maturity. It holds high promise for short-season areas.
“Leroy is exceptionally early and has high yield potential,” Durand says. “It was easily two or three days earlier than our other varieties last year. It also is a very tall variety. We’re seeing good early vigor and excellent pod height.
“The first node is a good indicator of your pod height. In Leroy, the first nodes are about 4 to 5 inches off the ground, so you’re going to have very good pod height with this tall variety. That will be a very good feature on rolling land.”
Leroy has tremendous yield potential. In a NorthStar seed production field in the Red River Valley in 2015, Leroy yielded more than 50 bushels per acre, and it was one of the top yielders in one of NorthStar’s long-season demo plot trials. In the seed increase program in South America last winter, it again yielded 50 bushels an acre, he says.
As new lines of Xtend soybeans become ready, Durand says NorthStar will be phasing out the RR2Y Genuity soybean program. But, it’s not over yet.
“We’ve got one more line of RR2Y in production, but won’t have commercial quantities for 2017,” he says. “We also are hoping to have more early maturing LibertyLink material for commercial release in 2018.”
Product Development Manager