Tops on the list of Monsanto’s new traited products will be the full commercial launch of its refuge-in-a-bag product called Genuity SmartStax RIB Complete. It’s a blend with 95% SmartStax seed (that contains both above- and below-ground insect-control traits) and a 5% non-insect-protected corn hybrid (it does have herbicide tolerance). This will allow for a single-bag refuge option for producers, says Matt Kirkpatrick, corn traits manager for Monsanto, as opposed to a separate block refuge requirement.
The company expects to convert all of its seed brands from structured refuge SmartStax to Genuity SmartStax RIB Complete in coming years.
Beyond the insect-tolerance traits, Monsanto is also looking at intrinsic yield and drought-tolerance traits. “We not only look at biotech, but advanced breeding and new agronomic practices that give producers a systems solution,” says Dusty Post, global technology lead for Monsanto.
Pending regulatory approval, Monsanto’s first generation of drought-tolerant traits will be unveiled for the 2012 growing season for large-acre testing.
And on the heels of the first-generation of drought-tolerant hybrids is Monsanto’s second generation, targeted for late this decade.
Also on the horizon is Monsanto’s nitrogen (N)-use efficiency traits. They may take one of two distinct forms: traits that use the same amount of N applied to get more bushels per acre, or use less N with no impact on yields.
The pipeline at Monsanto is filled with other traits that are still in the second stage of the research-and-development process, including third-generation corn-rootworm traits, third-generation corn-borer traits, and dicamba-, glufosinate- and glyphosate-tolerant corn traits. Still in the first stage of the pipeline is fops-tolerant corn (herbicides ending in "fop").
Monsanto’s also working on disease-resistant hybrids using gene markers and advanced breeding techniques to integrate lines with resistance to diseases like Goss’ wilt and gray leaf spot. “We expect these hybrids to be in the market in the next several years,” Post says.