DuPont subsidiary Pioneer Hi-bred hopes its new glyphosate, ALS-tolerant trait - Optimum GAT - will take soybeans over the yield plateau.
Optimum GAT is targeted for commercialization later in the decade in a number of crops. In addition to glyphosate tolerance, the trait has tolerance to herbicides designed to complement glyphosate by providing additional contact and residual control on grass and broadleaf weeds. This gives growers the flexibility to tailor weed control programs to local field conditions.
"By combining the Optimum GAT trait with our industry leading soybean products, farmers will enjoy even more significant yield advantages, along with improved weed control options," says Dean Oestreich, president of Pioneer, who made the announcement at the Commodity Classic convention and tradeshow, with Jim Collins, president, DuPont Crop Protection.
Yields of soybeans with the new gene will not be held back as they are by today's glyphosate tolerant traits; a difference university research suggests could be more than 5%.
Featuring a unique glyphosate tolerant mechanism, the Optimum GAT trait binds with glyphosate, transforming it into a metabolite that does not harm the plant.
The added flexibility of the Optimum GAT trait is gained through the trait's tolerance to ALS herbicides, which include popular active ingredients in the sulfonylurea and imidazolinone families. This added ALS tolerance, stacked with glyphosate tolerance, gives growers multiple options of herbicides against difficult-to-control and glyphosate-resistant weeds.
Common weeds throughout North America that have become difficult to control with glyphosate include wild buckwheat, morningglories, waterhemp, lambsquarter and ragweeds/marestail.
The Optimum GAT trait can allow for higher glyphosate application rates and a wider application window than other products currently available. This gives growers greater confidence in its performance and ability to deliver crop safety.
Optimum GAT is the first-ever agricultural trait developed through gene shuffling, a method designed to enhance plant performance. This is a technique based on the principle of transforming traits with poor properties into traits with higher value.
DuPont expects the Optimum GAT trait to receive full U.S. registration for use in soybeans and corn as early as 2009. The company is also pursuing the necessary regulatory approvals in other world markets.
The GAT brand name for the trait is derived from "Glyphosate ALS Tolerant". The new Optimum brand umbrella also will house future proprietary traits from Pioneer.