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Clubroot-resistant canola eyed for ’09

DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred seed company says it’s “racing” to bring a new clubroot-resistant canola hybrid to market for next spring.

“This breakthrough will have tremendous benefits to canola growers in areas of Alberta where the disease has become a significant issue, therefore it is critical that we get this hybrid to market as soon as possible,” said Ian Grant, president of PHB’s Canadian business, in a release Thursday.

PHB said its researchers have developed this hybrid by transferring non-genetically modified clubroot resistance into “elite Pioneer genetics.”

PHB said its new hybrid “demonstrated similar yield potential to leading commercially-available hybrids,” and contains Monsanto’s Roundup Ready trait. Once registered, it will be the “first and only one of its kind” on the market. the company said.

Several candidate hybrids were field-tested in the Edmonton area in locations where the clubroot strains were known to be present, PHB said.

“By testing hybrids under heavy disease pressure, we get an accurate indication of the true resistance,” said Dave Charne, PHB’s research director, in the release. One of the test hybrids showed a “high level of resistance” to the clubroot strains in those fields, he said.

“When the trials were evaluated, the new hybrid was shoulder-height and the roots were healthy,” Charne said, while the check hybrid, a non-resistant PHB variety, “was only knee-high and the roots were mushy.”

PHB will seek early registration of its new hybrid in 2009 and is now using winter production in South America to increase the amount of hybrid seed that can be available to growers for seeding in 2009, Charne said.

“Our commitment to canola growers is to produce as much seed as possible for this spring with a full-scale commercial launch in 2010,” Grant said.

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