DuPont Executive Vice President James C. Collins discussed priorities for the company’s agriculture business segment at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2017 Global Agriculture and Chemicals Conference, including plans to deliver new genetics, biotech traits and crop protection products.
“As demand for grain and other food products continues to increase, the most urgent challenge for growers is to improve crop productivity on every acre,” Collins said. “As a result of our ongoing strategic investments in agriculture research, DuPont has the tools to help growers produce more crops on each acre, which drives value for our customers and our shareholders.
“Addressing these challenges creates attractive long-term growth opportunities for DuPont,” Collins said. “In 2017, we are focused on achieving our financial commitments, and driving rapid and successful technology launches.”
Pipeline Delivers Near- and Long-Term Solutions
Collins presented an update of the agriculture research pipeline for DuPont, including a 2017 limited commercial introduction of Pioneer brand Qrome products. He also highlighted launches of Pioneer brand A-Series soybeans and DuPont Vessarya disease control, as well as regional expansions of Pioneer brand hybrids with Leptra insect protection and DuPont™ Zorvec fungicide.
“Our new corn hybrids and soybean varieties are delivering outstanding performance, demonstrating the benefits of the focused investments we have made in recent years,” said Collins. “We have created one of the most extensive germplasm libraries in the world and continue to advance our expertise by encompassing marker-assisted selection, trait integration, and the latest in targeted breeding techniques.”
Qrome products unlock more of the full performance potential of Pioneer’s elite corn germplasm. These high-yielding Qrome products feature an advanced, proprietary molecular stack trait technology to provide yield protection against above- and below-ground pests. In multi-year testing, Qrome products consistently delivered 4-7 bushels per acre yield improvement over legacy technologies.
In Brazil, Leptra insect protection offers broad-spectrum above-ground insect control. The initial launch of Leptra insect protection in the 2016/2017 Brazil summer season was one of the fastest technology ramp ups in Pioneer history; Pioneer will continue its expansion of Leptra by launching the product in Argentina this year.
Collins said he expects Pioneer to continue as a market leader in soybeans with the launch of the new A-Series soybeans, Pioneer’s highest yielding line of soybean varieties ever. In 2017, Pioneer is offering 54 new A-Series varieties, including 30 new varieties of Pioneer brand soybeans with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend technology. In 2016 on-farm Pioneer trials, A-Series varieties produced an average yield advantage of 2.3 bu/acre against 10,000 comparisons of elite competitors at 400 locations.
Collins discussed DuPont Zorvec disease control, which delivers consistent and longer control of oomycete diseases such as late blight and downy mildew for growers of potatoes, grapes and vegetables. First sales of Zorvec disease control products were in 2016, and are now sold in more than 10 countries, including China. Additional countries in Asia Pacific and Latin America are expected to launch in 2017.
Another fungicide that is launching in Brazil this year, DuPont Vessarya, combines two leading fungicides to provide protection against Asian soybean rust. Testing has shown Vessarya fungicide provided superior performing control of Asian soybean rust, with highest average yield compared to competitive treatments.
Collins also highlighted DuPont’s research for insect control. DuPont Pyraxalt insecticide, which has been specifically developed to protect rice crops in Asia, is nearing launch with first sales expected in 2018. With novel activity for control of a wide spectrum of hopper insects in rice, Pyraxalt insecticide is expected to set a new standard for high potency, low use rate with a favorable environmental profile.