Seeds of Success

Advanced germplasm and elite genetic traits help growers push yields higher and higher.
Seeds of Success
What's confidence worth? It's priceless to Andy Swanson when he selects corn hybrids and soybean varieties to provide a foundation for maximum yield potential on his farm in North Bend, Nebraska.

"I like NK® corn and soybeans from Syngenta because they typically have better plant health and good consistency throughout the field," he says. "There's a lot of research that goes in before Syngenta releases a hybrid or variety. Having the research and science behind every bag of seed is important to us and is becoming even more important, as we try to squeeze every bushel out of an acre."

Of course, effectively controlling profit-robbing pests and diseases is an essential step on the road to higher yields. "One of the big challenges in my area is Goss's Wilt," says Cole Anderson, who farms near Beaver Crossing, Nebraska, and plants Golden Harvest® corn hybrids from Syngenta. "A lot of hybrids are susceptible, but Golden Harvest genetics are solid, so I don't have to worry."

Both Swanson and Anderson appreciate the diversity of Syngenta corn and soybean genetics. No one-size-fits-all system, the extensive Syngenta seed portfolio offers the depth to meet growers' specific needs. "Some growers are really interested in disease resistance, while stalk strength is important to others," says Anderson, who is also a Syngenta Seed Advisor. "When you have the flexibility of high-yielding genetics that contain a range of other crop-sustaining options, you can put together a whole-farm package no one in the industry can match."

Breakout Genetics

With crop genetics, diversity provides a foundation for exceptional yield. The challenge is to capitalize on the most useful genetics for specific environments. "You never know what the growing season will bring, so genetic diversity is vital," says Eric Boersma, head of corn seed product management at Syngenta.

"Anytime we have had side-by-side beans with competitive brands, the NK beans always yield better and outperform everything else around here."

Nathan Baker
Soil types, insect pressure, disease issues and growing conditions that vary from region to region and farm to farm also call for seeds that are uniquely engineered. Syngenta accesses germplasm globally to produce genetics tailored to a variety of local growing conditions.

In corn, Syngenta researchers evaluate more than 1 million new genetic lines annually. By selecting top-performing hybrids, the company has developed genetics that have consistently closed the yield gap against competitors. These genetics, combined with exceptional traits from Syngenta, are part and parcel of the Syngenta corn brands Golden Harvest and NK.

"Crop genetics are like a football team," says Dan Dyer, Ph.D., head of seed product development at Syngenta. "You need a mix of 400-pound linemen and 180-pound wide receivers. This depth offers lots of options for success, just like the Syngenta germplasm pool."

Options are critical because growers only have about 40 growing seasons during their farming careers to integrate the right technology to maximize yields, Dyer says. "While it can take a lifetime to reach this goal individually, Syngenta is integrating solutions to deliver proven results faster."

Say Y.E.S. to Higher Yields

Syngenta is achieving this goal through its innovative Yield Engineering System (Y.E.S.). "Y.E.S. shaves years off the process of bringing new corn and soybean genetics to market," says Dyer, who notes that Syngenta applies the highest level of science to its plant breeding and trait conversion processes.

Researchers use state-of-the-art molecular marker technology to create corn hybrids and soybean varieties with high genetic yield potential. "Markers are like 'signposts' on the genetic highway," says Doug Tigges, soybean genetics product manager at Syngenta.

Genetic markers help identify agronomic traits that growers want, such as tolerance to drought, gray leaf spot and iron deficiency chlorosis (IDC), as well as protection against soybean cyst nematode (SCN) and sudden death syndrome (SDS). "Molecular marker technology takes a lot of the guesswork out of plant breeding, while our accelerated trait conversion helps speed up the development cycle to get products to market faster," Tigges notes.

This is appealing to Matt Rausch, who farms near Winamac, Indiana. "My top considerations when choosing corn hybrids are yield, along with drought and stress tolerance," says Rausch, who has planted Golden Harvest corn for six years. "I've found that yields and dry-down are better with Syngenta corn genetics."

Nathan Baker, a grower from Waldron, Michigan, also sees a competitive advantage when it comes to NK soybeans. "We haven't used any competitor brands for a few years now," says Baker, who grows 3,700 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat with his father and uncle. "Anytime we have had side-by-side beans with competitive brands, the NK beans always yield better and outperform everything else around here."

Innovations in Corn

In the past five years, Syngenta has launched more traits and technologies than any of its competitors, Boersma says. These industry-leading innovations in corn include:

  • Agrisure Artesian® hybrids: Artesian™ corn hybrids convert water to grain more effectively than other hybrids to maximize yield when it rains and increase yield when it doesn't.
  • Agrisure Duracade™ trait: This powerful trait features a brand-new mode of action and delivers unmatched corn rootworm control. "Rootworms are a big issue in my area, especially with corn-on-corn acres," Rausch says. "Syngenta trait packages can help a lot."
  • Agrisure Viptera® trait: Second-to-none in terms of efficiency against the multi-pest complex, Agrisure Viptera trait stacks offer unsurpassed control of a broad spectrum of above-ground lepidopteran pests, including corn earworm, black cutworm, fall armyworm and western bean cutworm.
  • Enogen® trait technology: This is the first genetically modified output trait in corn, engineered specifically to enhance the productivity and efficiency of dry-grind ethanol production.
"Syngenta offers some of the best traits in the industry," Anderson says. "It's really exciting to talk to growers about all the options that are available."

Agrisure® traits are available in the Syngenta corn brands - Golden Harvest and NK. Enogen corn is available through Syngenta Seed Advisors and NK retailers in areas where it is being contracted for use in ethanol plants.

Proven Soybean Performers

In addition to corn, Syngenta offers one of the industry's largest, most advanced germplasm pools in soybeans. Thanks to a rich 45-year history of soybean breeding at Syngenta and its legacy companies, products in the NK soybean portfolio deliver outstanding disease-tolerance and high-yield potential.

"The start of a good soybean crop is elite genetics," says Tigges. "NK soybeans integrate the latest genetics and traits to help growers break the yield barrier."

New NK products introduced for the 2014-2015 season have proven to out-yield the market leader by at least 3 bushels per acre in maturity groups 00 through 5, based on 2013 Syngenta research trials. In addition, NK soybean genetics provide strong protection against SDS and increased tolerance to IDC.

NK soybeans also offer the traits growers need most today, including Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Yield® and SCN-resistant varieties treated with Clariva™ Complete Beans seed treatment, a combination of separately registered products that provide season-long defense against SCN as well as early-season insect and disease protection. This is important to Rausch, who farms in a high-SCN-pressure area and plants NK soybeans. "All my soybeans this year include Clariva," he says. "I also go with NK because we've had some really good yields - up to 70 and 80 bushels per acre - with them."

Once deregulated, Syngenta will enhance the lineup with products that include Roundup Ready 2 Xtend™, a next-generation technology that offers glyphosate and dicamba tolerance.

The company remains focused on finding new NK soybean seed solutions to fit growers' changing needs, says Scott Erickson, head of soybean seed product management at Syngenta. "The NK brand maintains a long history of excellent performance. We will carry on this tradition by delivering high-performing soybeans with superior agronomic traits to maximize yield potential."

As environmental and growing conditions evolve, the need for efficient, sustainable corn hybrids and soybean varieties - combined with local expertise - becomes more important than ever. Boersma encourages retailers, dealers and growers to put Syngenta genetics to the test. "Give them a try, and let the results speak for themselves."

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