Monsanto Canada Inc.

Monsanto Canada Inc.

September 18, 2009 14:00 ET

Monsanto Canada Inc: New Clubroot Resistant DEKALB® Canola Hybrid Would Bring Welcome Relief to Alberta Growers

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Sept. 18, 2009) - Farmers in Alberta looking for solutions to combat clubroot could have a new, high yielding clubroot resistant DEKALB hybrid available to them next spring according to Monsanto.

Monsanto announced today its intent to introduce a new clubroot resistant DEKALB hybrid for spring 2010 planting. The new clubroot resistant hybrid will be incorporated into the company's high-yielding, DEKALB 73-series canola hybrids.

Clubroot – a soil borne disease impacting canola – has become an increasing concern for Alberta canola growers, where it was first discovered affecting canola in the Edmonton area in 2003. As the disease spread and the potential impact on canola growers became better known, Monsanto's canola breeding group took on the challenge of finding a solution as quickly as possible.

"Alberta growers made sure we knew it was a serious economic threat to their business. We committed to apply our technology wherever possible and leverage our available expertise in breeding, germplasm and technology to find a solution," explained Chunren Wu, line development and breeding support lead with Monsanto's canola breeding team. "Using Monsanto's global resources, we were able to secure resistant material and then integrate that material into our existing, elite germplasm. We are very pleased our breeding efforts have produced results much sooner than we had initially anticipated."

While Monsanto has multiple hybrids in its current testing program, the ability of the DEKALB brand to offer commercial quality seed for sale to farmers in time for spring 2010 planting is contingent on a favourable ruling from the Western Canadian Canola/Rapeseed Recommending Committee (WCC/RRC) and successful off-season production of enough seed supply to make the seed commercially available for sale to growers.

"There is a process in place in Western Canada to review and approve quality canola hybrids and we will work within that system to ensure we can make this new hybrid available to growers next spring," said Cornie Thiessen, DEKALB brand business manager for Western Canada. "We believe the presence of clubroot on Alberta farms is an ongoing emergency situation for growers and they need access to solutions that are widely available from as many seed suppliers as possible. Growers like to have choices when it comes to purchasing seed and we would like to see those choices become more readily available to them."

The introduction of a new hybrid solution for growers will be encouraging news for Alberta canola growers, but clubroot resistant varieties are just part of the solution to addressing the issue and preventing the spread of the disease. Good agronomic practices must be adopted by growers to avoid the spread of clubroot and ensure any new solutions that are introduced to the marketplace remain readily available for the foreseeable future.

"Product stewardship has always been a top priority for Monsanto and we will continue our dialogue with growers to ensure the necessary steps are taken to minimize the spread of the disease and produce a healthy, high yielding, high quality crop," said Clint Jurke, Monsanto's technical development representative. "We are ecstatic that Monsanto's breeding expertise has got us to the point where we can introduce a clubroot resistant hybrid to growers. At the same time, there is much more that growers can, and should, do to combat the disease. Proper stewardship is about more than just planting a resistant variety."

The canola seed industry, government, and academics have worked cooperatively to develop stewardship recommendations for growers that include: extending rotations between canola crops to four or more years; ensuring proper cleaning of equipment to restrict movement of soil borne pathogen; using direct seeding and other soil conservation practices to reduce erosion; scouting fields regularly; avoiding the use of straw, hay or green feed, silage and manure from infested or suspicious areas, and avoiding the use of common, untreated seed, including canola, cereals and pulses. In addition to following proper stewardship, the industry needs to continue to search for other sources of long-lasting, robust resistance.

"The focus of Monsanto's research pipeline is on yield," said Thiessen. "The introduction of a clubroot resistant hybrid within the DEKALB brand is our answer to addressing a serious disease issue that negatively impacts yields. Thanks to our Canadian-based canola breeding team and the support of Monsanto's global research and development program that spends $2.6 million a day looking for new solutions for growers, we were able to respond to an emergency situation in record time. Now we need to take that next step and multiply the seed and get it ready for launch next spring."

Headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Monsanto Canada Inc. is part of the larger global Monsanto family. Monsanto Company is an agricultural company and a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large-scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. Learn more about our business and our commitments at www.monsanto.ca.

Contact Information

  • Monsanto Canada
    Trish Jordan
    (204) 985-1005