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New Soybean Variety Promises Earliest Maturity

Pekko, a new soybean from Elite Seeds distributed in Manitoba by BrettYoung, is being touted as the earliest Roundup Ready 2 variety in the world.

We re pretty sure it s as early as it gets, Jrme Auclair, a plant breeder with La Coop fdre, which owns Elite Seeds, said during a plot tour here Sept. 6.

It has a corn heat unit (CHU) rating of 2375, although Auclair is quick to point out the rating system, designed for corn, isn t an exact science for rating soybean maturity.

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pallet of crop seed on a conveyor

Pekko, named after the ancient Estonian and Finnish god of crops, matures earlier than Warren and Isis, which are both Roundup Ready 1 varieties, Auclair said.

Pekko outyields Isis, an Elite Seeds variety sold exclusively in Manitoba because of its early maturity. Auclair gave credit to Monsanto s new Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield (RR2) technology, which according to Monsanto, produces yields that are seven to 11 per cent more than RR1.

That pretty much correlates with what we see in the field as a breeder, Auclair said. We see seven per cent, but we (also) see 16 per cent yield advantage regularly so there is a large yield advantage.


Pekko is relatively tall for an early-maturing soybean and stands well, he said. It s rated as moderately resistant to iron-deficiency chlorosis and has good resistance to root rot. Pekko pods are set relatively high and the plant is robust, according to Auclair.

That first node at the bottom is not a bean anymore; it s a branch, he said.

More branches means potentially more pods, and more pods means higher yields.

There are at least three and sometimes four pods per node all the way up, Auclair said.

Pekko emerges quickly and its narrow canopy is ideal for optimum yield in narrow rows and is adapted to higher seeding rates, according to Elite Seeds.

Sampsa Elite Seeds new, slightly later-maturing (2475 CHU) RR2 soybean shares those attributes. It s suitable for the longer growing areas of southern Manitoba, Auclair said.

Sampsa is moderately resistant to iron-deficiency chlorosis.

Monsanto s RR2 technology uses the same RR1 gene to deliver glyphosate tolerance to soybeans. What s different is it s linked to a new gene that boosts soybean yield, Auclair said.

Fifty-five per cent of RR2 soybean pods contain at least three or four beans and there are more pods per plant. RR2 will continue to be the new platform for other herbicide-tolerant traits in soybean, Auclair said. Elite is working on a soybean

that s dicamba-and glyphosatetolerant. It could be commercially available by 2015 if all goes well, he said.

That s going to be very helpful with weed control, especially when you start a rotation with corn where you ll have (a) Roundup (crop) on Roundup so it gets complicated, Auclair said. You will be able to switch herbicides (to control the Roundup Ready corn volunteers).

Not only does dicamba offer good weed control, being able to spray weeds with a tank mix of dicamba and glyphosate dramatically reduces the changes of developing glyphosate-tolerant weeds.

Elite Seeds will also have several new corn hybrids available next year for Manitoba farmers. C5OB12 R is a 2400 CHU with high yield potential and fast dry-down, said Jay Hackney, Elite Seeds co-ordinator of seed business development. Besides being Roundup Ready, it contains Monsanto s Genuity VT Double PRO technology incorporating two modes-of-action to control European corn borer and corn earworm. As a result, the refuge of insect-susceptible corn only has to be five per cent of the crop instead of 20 per cent.

The next step is moving to refuge-in-a-bag, Hackney said, eliminating the need to plant the protected and refuge corn in separate blocks.

E5OG27 R is a new 2350 CHU Roundup Ready hybrid from Elite Seeds, without corn borer protection. It can also be grown for silage or grazing, Hackney said.

Elite Seeds is careful with its corn heat unit ratings.

Our approach is to be a little more conservative and we try to err on the side of caution so it s more reliable and not too exaggerated, he said.

If a hybrid is given a lower CHU rating than it really has there s a danger it won t mature in time before a killing frost in the fall.

Unlike most of its competitors Elite Seeds is 100 per cent Canadian. Its focus is on developing early maturing corn and soybeans, for Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, Hackney said.

The firm prides itself in doing a lot of local testing, Auclair said.

We re pushing the limit for soybeans, he said. We re in the extreme north of the range of the crop, so we do have to be a little bit more diligent than other breeding programs to make sure that we get that adaptation. [email protected]


Thatfirstnodeatthebottomisnotabeananymoreit sabranch.


About the author


Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.



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