Limited LibertyLink soybeans pledged for 2010

Ontario and Quebec soybean growers can expect to see a "limited supply" of LibertyLink herbicide-tolerant soybean varieties available for planting in 2010.

Bayer CropScience, owners of the LibertyLink brand and genetics, on Wednesday advised interested growers in Eastern Canada to contact their seed suppliers for information on specific varieties.

"LibertyLink soybeans have been in the pipeline for more than 10 years and have been refined to the point where there is no yield drag associated with the trait," Greig Zamecnik, director for row crops and horticulture with Bayer CropScience in Guelph, said in a release Wednesday.

With its genetics already available in corn and InVigor canola, Bayer’s LibertyLink system is billed as an alternative to Monsanto’s Roundup Ready herbicide-tolerant traits.

The LibertyLink system confers "built-in resistance" to Liberty, Bayer’s Group 10 glufosinate ammonium herbicide and desiccant, allowing the chemical’s use in LibertyLink crops for control of grassy and broadleaf weeds.

"As the only Group 10 herbicide on the market, Liberty offers growers a competitive herbicide resistance management tool for Group 9 chemistry," Calgary-based Bayer said, referring to glyphosate products such as Monsanto’s Roundup and Syngenta’s Touchdown.

Bayer also noted in its release that its suggested retail price for Liberty 200 herbicide has been "significantly reduced" for 2010 to less than $12 per acre, based on a one litre-per-acre application rate.

The company said in July it planned to charge more per bag of seed for LibertyLink crops while lowering its prices on Liberty herbicide. 

Bayer said the move would make Liberty more affordable and flexible as a resistance management tool.

It added that growers will now also be required to sign a one-time "Liberty and Trait Agreement" accompanying this change, starting with seed bookings for 2010.

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