Bayer And DuPont Sign Cross-Licence Deal

Seed giant Pioneer Hi-Bred will begin using LibertyLink herbicide-tolerance traits in its canola hybrids, in a deal which will see Bayer CropScience try its hand at juncea oilseeds.

Germany’s Bayer and DuPontowned, U.S.-based Pioneer have announced a global licensing agreement in which Bayer will license its LibertyLink technology to Pioneer, while Bayer will get access to some of Pioneer’s juncea genetics.

“As a result of the agreement, growers will have a broader choice of LibertyLink canola hybrids and the option to use the successful Bayer herbicide, Liberty, in their weed management program,” Joachim Schneider, head of Bayer CropScience’s BioScience business unit, said in a release.

“In addition to expanding the Pioneer-brand canola lineup for our customers, the addition of Liberty herbicide tolerance will contribute to sustainable crop protection by rotating herbicides with different modes of action,” Ian Grant, Pioneer business director for Canada, said in the same release.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Compared to canola, which is seeded on about 24 million acres annually, mainly in Canada, the U.S. and Australia, juncea is grown on about 17 million acres, mainly in India.

Juncea, also known as mustard greens or Indian mustard, is another member of the brassica genus that also includes crops such as canola and broccoli, and “has adaptation possibilities in other geographies,” the companies said.

“The access to juncea germplasm will strengthen our long-term global brassica oilseedsbreeding program by expanding our portfolio and providing additional choices to growers,” Bayer’s Schneider said.

Hybrid products bred from juncea germplasm would have the potential for “excellent” yield and agronomic qualities such as tolerances to drought, heat and/or crop diseases, the companies said.

Seed breeders in recent years have developed brassica juncea canola varieties that are meant to equal conventional canola in oil and meal quality.

Juncea canolas have been touted as a possible option to expand canola production further into semi-arid areas of the Canadian Prairies, where drought and temperature stresses can hinder conventional brassica napus canola.

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