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Aphid-resistant soybean variety launched

Syngenta Seeds Canada plans to have North America’s first aphid-resistant soybean variety available for sale to growers in November, the company said Tuesday.

RAG1 soybean seeds offer “season-long protection” from soybean aphids, the company said. The variety has a rare genetic trait that’s “native only to soybean,” was developed in RAG1 using traditional plant breeding and therefore is not considered a genetically modified organism (GMO), Syngenta added.

The variety offers “selective resistance” to aphids, leaving beneficial insects unharmed, the company said.

Aphid infestations cause significant damage in soybean plants through the removal of sap, the reduction in photosynthesis and the transmission of viral diseases. Infested crops suffer from decreased growth resulting in reduced pod and seed production, the company said.

Soybean aphids have cost farmers in Ontario “millions of dollars” in lost yield since they were first detected in the province, Syngenta said.

RAG1, when available, will be sold under the company’s NK brand and will be available through local dealers, Syngenta said.

“This new technology is expected to change soybean farming practices across Ontario when incorporated into an integrated management system,” said crop manager David Townsend in Syngenta’s release.

“When combined with seed treatment and proper crop monitoring, the new RAG1 seeds offer trouble-free protection from aphid infestations, while promoting sustainability.”

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