Bayer CropScience launches new LibertyLink soybeans for 2009

Bayer CropScience announces the commercial launch of LibertyLink® soybeans—giving growers a new nonselective herbicide-tolerant system in soybeans for the 2009 season.

LibertyLink soybean varieties featuring top-yielding genetics and built-in tolerance to Ignite® herbicide will be available through more than 85 seed companies. The LibertyLink trait together with Ignite herbicide provides growers an effective tool for weed control and weed resistance management.

Glyphosate-resistant weeds have been confirmed in 19 states, and many states report weed resistance to multiple chemistries including ALS-, PPO- and triazine herbicides. By rotating to LibertyLink soybeans, growers have the benefit of the effective, over-the-top weed control with Ignite, which has a unique, nonselective herbicide mode of action. This rotation will enable growers to effectively manage, or potentially avoid weed resistance, while maintaining current production practices and reaping the associated benefits of herbicide-tolerant systems.

“We are excited to officially announce the commercialization of the LibertyLink trait in the U.S. soybean market,” said Andy Hurst, Product Manager, Herbicide Tolerant Traits and Ignite herbicide at Bayer CropScience LP, during a teleconference last week in Chicago. “Growers will have access to LibertyLink varieties that are competitive with commercial standards and finally will be able to alternate herbicide-tolerant technologies in soybeans.” For the 2009 season, LibertyLink varieties range in relative maturity from 0.5 to 4.9. That range will broaden quickly for 2010 and beyond.

“We expect there will be enough seed stock to accommodate up to one million acres of LibertyLink soybeans next year,” Hurst added. “In field tests, LibertyLink soybean varieties have demonstrated yields equal to or better than current commercial varieties, and Bayer CropScience is working with key germplasm originators to ensure future varieties are top yielding.”

Prior to today’s announcement, the American Soybean Association (ASA) and Bayer CropScience reached out to key stakeholders and foreign buyers to discuss the benefits of this technology in ensuring future oilseed supplies. LibertyLink soybeans are fully approved for food, feed and cultivation in the United States and Canada. Additionally, import approvals have been obtained in key soybean export markets with biotech approval processes including Australia, China, the European Union, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and Taiwan.

“We continue to champion the development and market acceptance of new traits and technologies that increase the productivity and sustainability of U.S. soybean farmers,” said ASA President Johnny Dodson, a soybean producer from Halls, Tenn., who chairs ASA’s Biotech Working Group. “The LibertyLink trait is an important tool that enables growers to rotate herbicide-tolerant systems to effectively avoid or manage weed resistance and preserve these technologies for the future of U.S. soybean production.”

LibertyLink with Ignite herbicide is the only nonselective alternative to glyphosate-tolerant systems. LibertyLink soybeans will provide similar over-the-top convenience, while enabling growers to manage or potentially avoid weed resistance.

Ignite herbicide is now labelled for use on all LibertyLink crops, including corn, cotton, canola and new LibertyLink soybeans. Ignite provides fast-acting, postemergent control of more than 120 broadleaf weeds and grasses, including woolly cupgrass, velvetleaf, cocklebur, foxtails, marestail, morningglories, ragweeds, waterhemp, Palmer amaranth and ALS- and glyphosate-resistant weeds.

“LibertyLink soybeans are an important addition to the Bayer CropScience portfolio. Bayer is committed to offering comprehensive crop solutions to growers,” Hurst explained. “We have a wide array of seed treatments, crop protection products and traits for enhancing productivity and yield. The LibertyLink trait helps set the foundation for our current portfolio as well as future introductions.”