With the 2020 research and demonstration plot season wrapped up except for the final number crunching, Bayer Crop Science is planning to increase its product offering to western Canadian farmers in 2021 with several new corn, soybean and canola varieties, and potentially some effective new crop protection products now in the approval pipeline.
Demonstration sites, like the 40-acre Market Development Farm (MDF) near Fort Saskatchewan, just east of Edmonton, Alta., serve several purposes, says Jarrett Jackson, an agronomist and Bayer market development representative (MDR).
“Some of the plots are purely for demonstration to showcase some of the new Dekalb varieties, or show a comparison of different agronomic treatments,” says Jackson, “while others are research plots that we monitor and take to harvest, all providing data that will be used to support registration of new varieties as well as the performance of new chemistries, fungicides and seed treatments.”
While the research and demonstration plots got seeded and growing, restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the opportunity for the site to host producer field days during the 2020 growing season.
“Normally, we would have 200 to 300 farmers visiting the site during the summer, which we weren’t able to do this year,” says Jackson. Information days were limited to tours by smaller groups of Bayer product representatives and retailers.
Along with the Fort Saskatchewan site, there are seven other Market Development Farms across the Prairies including locations in Carseland, Alta.; Saskatoon, Yorkton and Regina, Sask.; and Brandon and Carman, Man.
So what new offerings are coming along from Bayer for 2021?
Crop protection products
Buteo Start is a new canola seed treatment for flea beetle control registered in May this year, and is very effective at controlling both the striped and cruciferous species of the pest across Western Canada. Whether it was a fortunate or unfortunate development, there was little flea beetle pressure on canola seeded at the Fort Saskatchewan site, so there wasn’t much to see there, says Jackson, however, it was a different story at other sites in the MDF network.
Actually, a short video produced by Bayer of Emily Kruger, a MDR at the Yorkton research farm, provides a very graphic illustration of just how effective Buteo Start was during the 2020 growing season. You can find the video at frontrowtours.ca.
One of the most telling images of that short video is a shot of the control strip planted to canola with no seed treatment at all. Nothing grew in the control strip, just a patch of black dirt, as heavy pressure by the pest wiped out virtually every canola plant.
Buteo Start is described as being “neonic-like,” although it is not a neonicotinoid (which are in Group 4A). The active ingredient in Buteo Start is flupyradifurone, which is a Group 4D insecticide.
“It is a highly soluble seed treatment that moves through the plant quickly,” says Jackson. “With rapid uptake and systemic translocation from cotyledon to leaf margins, it allows for a strong plant right from the start, even in dry conditions.”
Proline Gold, which is also for canola, is described as a “powerful new fungicide” for the 2021 growing season. Particularly effective in regions or years of high sclerotinia disease pressure, it includes two modes of action — prothioconazole and fluopyram. Jackson says with the addition of the fluopyram, a Group 7, the fungicide is faster acting and also provides some residual activity.
There are two new cereal fungicide products in the pipeline. Although both are still in the registration process, Bayer is working on one being referred to as the “new Prosaro,” which will provide improved control of ergot and fusarium head blight.
Compared to Prosaro XTR, which is still an effective fungicide, the as yet unnamed “premium wheat” fungicide will include more prothioconazole (Group 3), add fluopyram (Group 7) and reduce the level of tebuconazole (Group 3) found in Prosaro XTR.
The other new, unnamed wheat and barley fungicide, which may eventually replace Folicur, is described as a “flex timing” product that can be applied either at the flag leaf stage, primarily to control leaf diseases, or it can be applied later to control seed head diseases.
The research and demonstration farms also showcased several new crop varieties available for the 2021 growing season.
New corn varieties — with some of the earliest maturity and lowest corn heat units — are being introduced that will hopefully push the crop into new production territory.
DKC21-36RIB has the VT2P (double-stacked genetic traits to control corn earworm and other ear-feeding insects). It reaches relative maturity in 71 days and requires the lowest of corn heat units (CHU) at 2025.
Dekalb also features DKC24-05 and DKC24-06, two sister hybrids with 74 days relative maturity and CHU 2100. DKC24-05 is a Roundup Ready variety, while DKC24-06 has the VT2P genetic package.
Jackson says all three are triple-purpose corn varieties, suitable for grain, silage or grazing. “And the early maturity may help push these varieties into areas where growing corn wasn’t an option before,” he says.
On the canola side are two new varieties that will hopefully be registered for 2021. The as yet unnamed experimental varieties include TF-EXP-CRSC, which is a TruFlex variety with straight cut (seed pod integrity) and clubroot resistance features.
The other unnamed variety is TF-EXP-YSC, also a TruFlex variety with seed pod integrity, but no clubroot resistance.
“Both are high yielding and hold up well even with some blackleg and sclerotinia pressure,” says Jackson.
Although one new soybean variety wasn’t part of the Fort Saskatchewan demos, Dekalb is introducing the “all-new” DKB002-32 in 2021. It is a Roundup Ready 2 Xtend variety with a 00.2 RM (relative maturity). Like other varieties in the Dekalb soybean lineup, it is described as having “reliable performance and harvest ease through the robust and broad spectrum weed control of the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System.”
For more details on how the Xtend herbicide program works with soybeans, check out the video presentation with Bruce Murray, MDR in eastern Manitoba, at frontrowtours.ca.
All new varieties will likely have limited seed available for the 2021 growing season.