It's Official: Liberty Link Beans Coming in 2009

Bayer CropScience announces launch of the technology with seed for at least 1 million acres next season.

The long-awaited announcement of new weed control technology was made Thursday when Bayer CropScience officially launched Liberty Link soybeans. The herbicide-tolerant product will be available from more than 85 seed companies around the country in 2009 with enough seed to cover at least 1 million acres, according to company officials.

The biotech trait has also received import approvals in key export markets around the world. It has long been approved in Canada and the United States, but development was put on hold in the late 1990s. The technology was resurrected and is getting a much-anticipated launch.

During a conference call announcing the technology, Andy Hurst, product manager, herbicide tolerance traits, Bayer, noted that the range of maturities for the new seeds will be from .5 to 4.9 offering most markets useful product. The technology will be paired with Ignite herbicide - don't be looking for Liberty herbicide at the local dealer.

"We've cleared the pipeline and we'll be marketing one product - Ignite - in 2009," Hurst says. "Ignite is 40% more concentrated than the old Liberty formulation that it will replace."

That means less product to handle, a lower use rate and a single brand to remember for all Liberty Link crops including corn, cotton, canola and the new soybean varieties.

On the call, Missouri Farmer Tim Lance talked about his experience with the seed after raising the beans for two seasons. He notes they were top yielders for his operation, outyielding the competition as much as 11.2 bushels in one field, and never less than 2 bushels in all tests he and three other farmers did in his area.

"I'll be going 100% Liberty Link soybeans in 2009," Lance says. He also sees it as part of a rotation strategy geared toward avoiding weed resistance.

In year 1, he would raise Liberty Link soybeans; year 2 corn would go in using a conventional herbicide program; and in year 3 Roundup Ready soybeans would be planted. "That's a three-year rotation with three modes of action that we think will work for us," he notes.

Weed scientist, and now private consultant, Ford Baldwin, was also on the call. He notes in the trials he saw and worked with in the mid-south that the Liberty Link soybeans were consistent top yielders.

Hurst adds, that breeders are finding that the trait is easy to add to germplasm and they like the performance. "You'll see no yield lag with this technology," he adds.

Resistance management is important and the active ingredient in Ignite is gaining market share as growers look for more choices. Hurst notes that in its history, no weed has been shown resistant to the herbicide, anywhere in the world. If it's part of a well-designed weed-resistance management program, perhaps that can remain true going into the future.

You can learn more about the technology by visiting linkup.bayercropscience.us online.

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