Think Local, Traits and Agronomics When Selecting Varieties

October 8, 2019

What’s the best soybean variety for my farm?

That’s a question Allan Froese, Syngenta Product Selection Lead for Western Canada, gets a lot throughout the year.

Selecting varieties can be a tough task — there’s a lot to choose from, several trait/technology options and plenty of data to support a range of choices. When Froese offers growers soybean selection tips, the first thing he emphasizes is the importance of local, multi-year data.

“Typically, yield is the first thing we look at, but you really need to understand how that product performs in your area,” Froese says. A big part of that understanding is relative maturity (RM). “A lot of varieties in company seed guides will have the same RMs, but they are going to vary in the field. The key word here is ‘relative.’ Each company typically assigns an RM to a new variety relative to their own lineup. For example, one company’s 0.05 soybean could mature three days earlier than a variety with the same RM from another company. They are similar to varieties in a maturity range but there can be significant differences when planted in your local environment.”

That’s where a local agronomist or seed rep can play a key role. “They see the varieties in a range of environments and can really help you understand what products are going to perform the best on your soil type and on your farm,” Froese adds.

Weed spectrum drives technology choice

The package of traits a variety brings to your field is another important consideration. “First we had Roundup® Ready soybeans, which were followed by Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Yield®, and now the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® platform. Just recently, Enlist E3™soybeans with glyphosate, glufosinate and 2,4-D tolerance have been approved for sale,” Froese notes. “There are lots of technology options and when it comes to herbicide trait platforms, those choices are only going to increase.”

Froese says it’s important for growers to understand each system because they all have a fit and provide specific benefits.

For example, the ability to control volunteer canola is a key benefit of 2,4-D tolerance. That could be a game changer, but Froese believes growers have to look at the weed spectrum on their farm to make the right choice for their operation. “If you have a lot of kochia, 2,4-D might not be the best product. You may want to look at dicamba – it’s really strong on that.” It’s also important to remember that there are many other conventional products growers can use on any soybean variety that can provide control of canola, kochia, wild buckwheat and other weeds. If you are satisfied with your current weed control, there are still many good Roundup Ready 2 Yield® varieties in the marketplace. 

“The key is to evaluate the main problem weeds on your farm, and then choose your herbicide trait package to target those issues,” says Froese.

Agronomics and disease defense

Agronomics and disease management are also critical factors in the variety selection process. “When we look at the major soybean growing regions in the U.S., we see many more disease issues. We’re also seeing that in Manitoba with white mould, iron deficiency chlorosis (IDC) and Phytophthora. As you move west, those pressures aren’t as high, but they will likely impact the soybean crop in the future,” Froese says. “That’s why it’s important to talk with your agronomist or seed rep to understand how varieties perform when exposed to Phytophthora, white mould and IDC.”

Taking a close look at emergence, vigour, standability, pod height and the ability to perform well in different row widths — wide or narrow — will also help growers determine whether a variety is right for their farm, notes Froese. “There are plenty of factors to consider, but it all starts with local performance.”



Monsanto Company is a member of Excellence Through Stewardship® (ETS). Monsanto products are commercialized in accordance with ETS Product Launch Stewardship Guidance, and in compliance with Monsanto’s Policy for Commercialization of Biotechnology-Derived Plant Products in Commodity Crops. These products have been approved for import into key export markets with functioning regulatory systems. Any crop or material produced from these products can only be exported to, or used, processed or sold in countries where all necessary regulatory approvals have been granted. It is a violation of national and international law to move material containing biotech traits across boundaries into nations where import is not permitted. Growers should talk to their grain handler or product purchaser to confirm their buying position for this product. Excellence Through Stewardship® is a registered trademark of Excellence Through Stewardship.

ENLIST E3™ soybean technology is jointly developed with Dow AgroSciences LLC and MS Technologies LLC.

Always read and follow label directions. Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Yield® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, an active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides, and dicamba, the active ingredient in XtendiMax® herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology. Agricultural herbicides containing glyphosate will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate, and those containing dicamba will kill crops that are not tolerant to dicamba. Genuity®, Genuity and Design®, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend®, Roundup Ready 2 Yield®, Roundup®, VaporGrip® and XtendiMax® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC, Monsanto Canada, Inc. licensee. © 2019 Monsanto Canada Inc. Enlist E3™ is a trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC. Other trademarks are property of their respective owners. © 2019 Syngenta.

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