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Agrimarketing : November December 2009
40 Agri Marketing November/December 2009 2009 PRODUCT OF THE YEAR THE SECRET BEHIND Y SERIES' SUCCESS by the Agri Marketing Editors Underlying the success of Pioneer 's Y series soybean seed is a system the company's researchers utilize named "Acceler- ated Yield Technology" (AYT). Supported by more than a dozen patents issued to Pioneer since 1995, AYT is helping increase the yield potential of the new soybean vari- eties at a much faster pace than tra- ditional breeding. The company's goal is to help growers increase their soybean production by 40% over the next decade. "We're matching superior parents and using AYT processes to identify progeny with the highest yield potential," reports Dr. John Soper, Pioneer's Senior Research Director, Soybean Product Development. "One parent may contain yield-enhancing genes A, B and C, while another contains yield genes D, E and F. Pioneer combines the two, looking for lines that include all six yield genes. "Then it conducts trials on these promising lines to confirm yield superiority over existing varieties in the real-world conditions of growers fields," he continues. In addition to selecting for yield, the company's researchers also use AYT to select varieties possessing the key defensive traits demanded by growers. "These traits protect the plants' yield from harmful pests such as soybean cyst nematode, Phy- tophthora root rot, brown stem rot, Chinese soybean aphid and frogeye leaf spot," Soper says. The AYT process starts with Pioneer researchers mining and analyzing the company's germplasm database, including ancestral varieties that had been commercial- ized in the past, but are no longer on the market, to identify native genes associated with high yields. Using molecular markers and patented molecular breeding techniques, the company's scientist are able to track and select native genes associated with increased yields, then stack these genes into its varietal lines. "These breakthroughs, using non-transgenic biotechnologies," Soper says, "allow our researchers to quickly and efficiently 'design' vari- eties carrying these yield-enhancing genes. The AYT system also improves our research timelines." The system was first adopted by Pioneer's soybean researchers because it was developed by one of that team's members, Soper explains. "It is now being utilized in all the crops Pioneer is involved with including corn, canola, sunflowers and wheat. "In short, AYT helps us develop new varieties and hybrids that assure our customers that our products can produce high yields consistently," Soper concludes. AM The Pioneer soybean research team gathers at the company's headquarters which is located just north of Des Moines, IA, following its annual meeting. The company has 13 soybean research centers located across the North American soybean growing areas. Dr. John Soper
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