Over a decade ago, agronomists predicted Asian soybean rust would be the next major yield challenge for Midwest soybeans, appearing as early as the next season. Stories cautioned farmers about the potential threat of Asian soybean rust. Farmers took it seriously — some upgrading their operation to apply more spray volume, and others investing in different spray nozzles. As it turned out, the disease didn’t move northward into the Midwest.
However, it didn’t disappear. It’s still a major threat to many global soybean producers, especially in Latin America. Recently, the nonprofit 2-Blades and Corteva Agriscience announced a milestone in their joint effort to develop a transgene for Asian soybean rust resistance. Tom Greene, biotechnology leader at Corteva, says Latin American soybean varieties containing the transgene showed strong disease resistance in trials.
Field trial success doesn’t mean commercial use, but it’s a big step forward. “Reaching this collaborative milestone reinforces our trajectory and builds confidence in our approach,” says Jeff Habben with Corteva’s Disease Resistance Discovery Group. Visit 2blades.org and corteva.com.
New biological products near
UPL hopes its Natural Plant Protection business will yield new products for U.S. farmers in 2023. UPL entered a strategic collaboration with Kimitec’s innovation center in Spain to enhance its ability to develop bio-tailored solutions.
Willie Vogt, Farm Progress editorial director, says the first five products from this collaboration already have names and target crops.
- Alfa. It’s a soil amendment with two soil probiotics to optimize access to water and nutrients. It will be registered for row crops, plus vegetables, strawberries and more.
- Velexi. This fermented concentrate of probiotics promotes soil microbe activity. Registration is targeted at cereals, corn, sunflower, sugarbeets, soybeans and cotton.
- Moto. It’s a plant nutritional supplement that supplies nitrogen and helps alleviate abiotic stress. Look for it in corn, soybeans, cotton and vegetables.
- Serenis. This liquid formulation enhances roots in vegetable, citrus, vine crops and more.
- Cevo. It’s a liquid fertilizer that provides nitrogen. Registration targets cereals, vine crops, some vegetables and fruits.
New phosphate stays where needed
Ostara believes a type of phosphate it developed makes the nutrient less mobile. Crystal Green is a struvite-based mineral, which is a magnesium ammonium phosphate. It’s not water soluble; instead, it dissolves in citric acid produced by crop roots.
The company claims Crystal Green only releases nutrients when roots need them, is 100% plant available and doesn’t tie up phosphate.
Ostara sells more Crystal Green than it can produce. It’s investing in a facility in St. Louis to produce 200,000 tons per year. See New phosphate type stays where needed.
Soil health and food security
Soil health and food security are linked, and John Shanahan has proof. Now with Agoro Carbon Alliance, Shanahan interviewed 100 no-till farmers while with the Soil Health Institute. Cargill supported the study.
Over half the farmers interviewed reported a yield increase with healthier soil, although not always at first. Almost all believed soil-friendly practices made farms more resilient.
Also, Shanahan insists soil health ties to food security, because without practices that promote soil health, soil erosion would remove too much topsoil. See Study links soil health to food security.