Mycogen Seeds and BASF have completed a commercial agreement allowing for the marketing and sale of Mycogen Seeds sunflower hybrids with the Clearfield trait.

The global agreement grants marketing rights to Mycogen Seeds in North America and to its affiliated partner, Dow AgroSciences LLC, in Latin America and parts of Europe.

The first Clearfield hybrids from Mycogen have been available in the United States for 2003 planting and use with Beyond herbicide from BASF.

Beyond herbicide received U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Section 3 registration for sunflowers earlier this year, permitting the use of the herbicide, in conjunction with Mycogen Seeds sunflower hybrids as part of the Clearfield Production System.

“The introduction of this technology is a revolutionary advancement in sunflower production,” says Bruce Cranfill, U.S. Clearfield sunflower marketing manager for BASF.

“Cost effective weed control has always been a limiting factor in the production of sunflowers. Growers in the past have relied on application timing, herbicide combinations and perhaps even a little luck to get effective weed control,” Cranfill says.

“The Clearfield Production System for sunflowers will provide a promising new weed control option for growers.”

Beyond works with the Clearfield trait in sunflower hybrids to provide broad-spectrum postemergence control of weeds in all tillage systems. It controls green foxtail (pigeon grass), other foxtail species, marshelder, wild mustard, cocklebur, and other tough grasses and broadleaf weeds.

“We believe that the incorporation of herbicide tolerance into sunflowers has the potential to increase the number of U.S. sunflower acres,” says Keith Porter, sunflower marketing specialist for Mycogen Seeds.

“We see an advantage for growers who use Clearfield hybrids on those acres with weed control issues for the weed species controlled with Beyond,” Porter says. “It will give producers an opportunity to bring increased acreage into sunflower production.”

“In fact, the inclusion of this trait will be a key driver to increasing acres in all sunflower production areas of the world,” says Mark Henderson, global business leader, oils and oilseeds for Dow AgroSciences.

The Clearfield trait for sunflowers is initially offered in 2003 in the Mycogen Seeds hybrid 8N429CL. Plans are to introduce more Clearfield hybrids into the Mycogen Seeds lineup in the future.

“Mycogen Seeds will continue to provide sunflower producers with advanced technology for use in their production systems by offering strong agronomics, along with traits that add real value,” Henderson says.

According to Dwight More, BASF, global marketing manager for Clearfield Oilseeds, “This agreement utilizes traditional plant-breeding methods with existing tolerance genes to allow the rapid development and introduction of Mycogen sunflower hybrids for use with Clearfield herbicides.

Clearfield herbicides such as Beyond in the United States, and additional Clearfield herbicides in other countries, provide postemergent control of many weeds in one treatment when used in Clearfield sunflowers.

All current Clearfield varieties, as well as those that will be developed using this technology, are recognized as non-GMO by international regulators. Currently, BASF possesses the world's largest portfolio of non-GMO herbicide tolerant traits.

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