Seed World

Industry News – September 2012


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Becker Underwood has announced organizational leadership changes for the company’s corporate executive team and North American business unit. Paul Holliday will assume the position of chief strategist, providing direction, expertise and support to the company’s executive team to ensure the execution of Becker Underwood’s corporate strategic plan. Fernando Lopez assumes the role of global business development lead, and will work closely with the company’s research and development team to identify in-licensing opportunities. Mike McFatrich assumes the role of director of marketing and sales for the NAFTA region. Chris Feiden assumes the role of global head of operations and supply chain and will have direct management responsibilities for all manufacturing operations within the NAFTA region.

Syngenta has announced that Rob Bruns, head of the North American cereal seed portfolio, has retired. Bruns was instrumental in building what is now the Syngenta AgriPro brand and breeding program and has passed the torch to Simon Phillips, who recently joined the North American cereals team as crop product lead for cereal genetics. Phillips brings more than 30 years of international cereal product promotion experience to the North American market. Bruns will continue to serve as a valuable resource for Syngenta during this transition period.

Germains Seed Technology has appointed Eduardo Negre to the role of head of sales for North America, based in Gilroy, Calif. The addition of Negre to Germains’ U.S. team fully supports the company’s horticulture growth aspirations.

Novozymes BioAg has created a new department called the Seed Industry Group to focus on applications of Novozymes technologies at the seed company level. Allan Basnight will head the newly created team, which includes Kay Little as its eastern region sales representative, Bill Diemer as its central region sales representative and Robert Todd as its western region sales representative. The new team will support seed companies to help make Novozymes’ current and new products available to growers.

Cibus Global, a plant trait development firm, has promoted James Pearce to the position of director of molecular biology. Cibus has also further strengthened its scientific management team with the addition of David Songstad, who will become director of research, cell biology. In his current role, Pearce’s focus is on the continual optimization of the screening platform and improving the efficiency of the RTDS technology while managing the various programs within the molecular biology group. Songstad joins Cibus from Monsanto, where he was the new products lead.


Syngenta has received U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registration of Vibrance seed treatment fungicide, the company’s first fungicide developed specifically as a seed treatment. Vibrance is now registered for use on cereals, soybeans and canola with additional crop registrations anticipated during the next several years.

DuPont Pioneer (formerly Pioneer Hi-Bred) has entered into an exclusive agreement with Bayer CropScience to provide EverGol Energy fungicide seed treatment to growers planting DuPont Pioneer brand soybeans, beginning with the 2013 growing season. EverGol Energy seed treatment fungicide is a next-generation technology with multiple modes of action, providing enhanced protection against a broad spectrum of early-season diseases.

BASF has announced products that are currently in the company’s research pipeline that are focused on crop protection and plant biotech innovations. One of the products is called Engenia, a dicamba-tolerant crop system jointly developed with Monsanto set to launch in 2013/2014. BASF also announced the South American release of a Roundup Ready alternative, Cultivance, which will receive a full release in 2013. The company will also release products with abiotic stress resistance. By 2013, DroughtGuard hybrids will also hit the market.

Monsanto Company has announced the latest addition to the company’s research and development pipeline, early development of agricultural biological products through new BioDirect technology. BioDirect brings Monsanto’s expertise in plant genomics to chemistry for the first time, enabling products that could provide new options for sustainable pest or virus control.

Syngenta and Dow AgroSciences LLC have announced a joint agreement to offer two reduced refuge trait stacks to independent seed companies through Syngenta-owned GreenLeaf Genetics LLC. This agreement will make trait stacks, beginning with the Agrisure Viptera 3220 and Agrisure 3122 trait stacks, more widely available to corn growers in the United States and Canada. Inbreds for hybrid combinations will be offered for sale immediately for production this winter.

Beginning in the fall of 2012, DuPont Pioneer will sell its soybean products by seed count per unit rather than weight for varieties sold throughout North America for the 2013 planting season. The number of soybean seeds sold per unit by Pioneer will be 140,000. The advantage for Pioneer customers is that buying by seed count provides a simple, convenient and more accurate means of planning their soybean crop.


The name of DuPont’s seed-producing subsidiary has changed from Pioneer Hi-Bred to DuPont Pioneer. The change is intended to more closely align Pioneer, which produces seed for major field crops such as corn and soybeans, with DuPont’s crop protection business and nutrition and health business, which develops food ingredients.

KWS has entered the Brazilian seed market for tropical corn through the acquisition of the breeding companies Semília Genética e Melhoramento Ltd. and Delta Pesquisa e Sementes Ltd., as well as an entrepreneurial partnership with Riber Sementes Ltd., a corn seed production and sales enterprise. The companies have merged to form KWS Brasil Pesquisa & Sementes Ltd. The breeding programs of the new company will be carried out under KWS leadership in cooperation with the previous owners.

Syngenta has entered into a barley breeding collaboration with InterGrain, an Australia-based crop breeding company. The collaboration will enable Syngenta and InterGrain to exchange germplasm to develop innovative integrated solutions for barley growers. Syngenta will gain exclusive global commercialization rights for all new barley varieties developed under the arrangement, and exclusive rights to commercialize existing varieties in the InterGrain portfolio outside Australia.

INCOTEC has acquired Landec Ag LLC, a developer and producer of functionalized polymer coatings for the seed industry located in Oxford, Ind. INCOTEC will also obtain exclusive license
rights from Landec to market the Intellicoat Pollinator Plus technology and both companies will jointly research the development of new polymer technologies. INCOTEC also announced that these activities will be brought under a newly-created company, INCOTEC Field Crops North America, to be located at the existing facilities of Landec. The new company will be led by Natarajan Balachander as vice president and general manager.

Monsanto Company has completed the purchase of planting technology developer Precision Planting Inc. The Precision Planting team is now part of Monsanto’s Integrated Farming Systems unit, which will utilize advanced agronomic practices, seed genetics and innovative on-farm technology to deliver optimal yield to farmers while using fewer resources.

GreenLeaf Genetics LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Syngenta, has acquired JGL Inc., a leading seed genetics licensing company focused on soybean and wheat genetics licensing for the seed industry. Based in Plymouth, Ind., JGL serves two major types of customers, genetic and trait developers, for which they provide additional access to the broad seed market through licensing and marketing opportunities, and seed companies who utilize them for genetics.

Bayer CropScience has entered into an agreement to purchase the watermelon and melon seed business of Abbott and Cobb Inc., a privately-held seed company headquartered in Feasterville, Pa. The acquisition will strengthen the vegetable seed business of Bayer, which operates under the Nunhems brand and is a key segment for the company.

Gro Alliance has signed an agreement to acquire the Bo Jac Seed Company corn production location in Mount Pulaski, Ill. The Bo Jac seed corn production facility gives Gro Alliance another seed corn drying, conditioning and packaging facility complete with a separate foundation seed production line that will allow Gro Alliance to expand its services to parent seed production and other research activities.


A new discovery could make more tomatoes taste like heirlooms, according to an international research team headed by a University of California, Davis plant scientist. The finding, which has recently been published the journal Science, has significant implications for the United States tomato industry. “This information about the gene responsible for the trait in wild and traditional varieties provides a strategy to recapture quality characteristics that had been unknowingly bred out of modern cultivated tomatoes,” says Ann Powell, a biochemist in UC Davis’ Department of Plant Sciences and one of the lead authors of the study.

A new wheat research information resource has been launched in a bid to help coordinate worldwide research efforts in the fields of wheat genetics, genomics, physiology, breeding and agronomy. The new website provides a central hub for the Wheat Initiative, which aims to coordinate wheat research programs and contribute to food security across the globe. The website offers space to find out about the Wheat Initiative, access wheat databases, find researchers for collaboration, participate in discussions and keep up-to-date with the latest publications, news and events.

Iowa State University is taking a team approach to studying what is behind the disappearance of honeybees known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Amy Toth, assistant professor in ISU’s Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology department, has been awarded an Agriculture and Food Research Initiative grant by the United States Department of Agriculture to explore the importance of nutritional stress and viruses on honeybee health. ISU researchers will establish small experimental colonies of 3,000 bees from Toth’s newly established apiary of 20 colonies. Working in a contained greenhouse, researchers will infect the bees with viruses. Some colonies will receive poor diets, while others will receive nutritionally rich and diverse diets. Toth and colleagues will then study how the health of each colony is affected and will compare bees from the research trials to those gathered in the field.


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