With tight margins, many growers were talking about cutting back on biotech crops and going conventional to save money. While some of that did occur, biotech crops still ruled the day. According to the HAT Pioneer Poll last week, more Indiana farmers are planting biotech seeds than conventional. Fifty-eight percent of those who responded to our text and on-line poll said they planted GMO crops this year compared to 42% who went conventional. Seed companies reported that, while there was some switching, growers still like the traits that some biotech crops have.
Adrian Percy, with Bayer Crop Science, says yield is still the main concern growers have, “Today, farmers want to know how the technology works, they want you to explain it to them. In many cases, they are experts on what is going on in their soil and their fields, but, in the end, it is all about yield. If a product does not yield, it is going to be hard to sell in the marketplace.”
In the future, he sees a combination of biological traits, genetic traits and chemicals, all playing a part in delivering yields to growers, “It is all about bringing results to the grower. Poncho/VOTiVO 2.0 is a great example of this, where the control of the insect is from the insecticide, but we have combined this with biologicals for the soil health and nematode protection.” He added some traits are more effective in a biological format than a chemical format.
Poncho/VOTiVO employs a biological mode of action with a unique bacteria strain that lives and grows with young roots, creating a living barrier that prevents nematodes from causing damage. It also has a systemic agent that is absorbed by new roots immediately, providing control of many critical early-season insect In more than 150 replicated soybean field trials in 2011 and 2012, Poncho/VOTiVO provided an average yield advantage of 1.5 to 2.5 bushels per acre.
Percy is confident that new technology will help growers get the yield they want while impacting the environment less to keep consumers and regulators happy.