In the near-term, growers can expect Yield Gard corn and the second generation of Bollgard from Monsanto, says the company's director of technology development. In the mid- to long-term, the company is working on enhanced Roundup Ready cotton, insect protectants in genetics and identifying genetic markers for traits in cotton, in addition to other products.

At a Center of Excellence field day in Cameron, S.C., Consuelo Madere, Monsanto's director of technology development, told about 150 farmers and industry professionals about the products in the company's pipeline.

In the 2002-2003 timeframe, farmers will have access to Yield Gard corn and Bollgard II, Madere says.

Yield Gard corn has resistance to corn rootworm. “We're hoping to have approval in time for 2002 for our Yield Gard corn rootworm project,” Madere says. “We're working on final U.S. approval and we have committed that we will not launch that product without approval from Japan and Canada.”

The near-term also looks promising for new Monsanto cotton products, Madere says.

Bollgard II, the second generation of insect control in cotton, will improve the efficacy with a second mode of action.

“The other thing we've been able to do with this product, is that it does provide control of fall and beet armyworms and loopers,” Madere says.

Also in the near-term, Monsanto is continuing to work on the development of new and enhanced glyphosate formulations.

In the mid-term between 2003-2006, Monsanto is working on enhanced Roundup Ready cotton products that will give growers a “broader window for over-the-top applications,” Madere says.

The mid-term also holds promise for projects in canola, as well as a second generation of the corn rootworm project, she says.

In the time beyond 2006, Monsanto is researching cotton genomics to identify traits by using molecular markets. This research is in the early stages of development, Madere says, but “it's pretty exciting.”

Among the promising avenues are identifying the nitrogen-use genes in cotton. These are genes that will enhance root hairs and allow for equal yield under lower nitrogen rates, Madere says. “The product concept we're looking at is using 50 percent less nitrogen while maintaining the same yields.”

Monsanto is also working on genes that control drought tolerance, as well as cold tolerance.

Enhancing the genes that control drought tolerance would give the plant the ability to maintain photosynthesis during a drought period.

Cold tolerance would help cotton producers during the early spring when wet and cold situations hamper planting.

“It would allow farmers to be able to start planting a little earlier,” Madere says.

Cotton with the cold-tolerant gene has done well at temperatures as low as 45 degrees Fahrenheit, Madere says.

“We have a lot of exciting products in the pipeline that might add value to your operation in this area of the country,” Madere says.


e-mail: cyancy@primediabusiness.com