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Posted 10 April 2009. PMN Crop News.

Breakthrough Genetic Solution for Clubroot Registered

First and only hybrid resistant to clubroot registered after Pioneer Hi-Bred pours significant resources into combating devastating disease

Pioneer Hi-Bred Limited.

Chatham, Ontario (April 6, 2009)-- Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business, has received registration of Pioneer® brand canola hybrid 45H29, a new hybrid that provides a genetic solution for clubroot, a major problem spreading quickly across Alberta.

Pioneer® brand 45H29, the first and only hybrid in the marketplace to provide genetic resistance to clubroot, demonstrates similar yield potential to leading commercially available hybrids as well as strong agronomic characteristics. It also contains the Roundup Ready® trait.

Six years ago clubroot was discovered in several canola fields in the Edmonton area. Since 2003 it has spread rapidly and has become a major disease, effectively removing large areas of land from canola production across 14 counties in the province. The disease can cause up to 80 percent yield loss.

Getting a solution into the hands of producers so quickly is a major feat. It has been accomplished through a strong partnership between Pioneer Hi-Bred, extension, researchers and government.

“We realized early on how significant a problem clubroot was going to become,” says Ian Grant, president and business director of Pioneer Hi-Bred Limited in Canada. “We mobilized our worldwide research team and enlisted the help of some key partners to find a solution quickly. This genetic clubroot solution clearly demonstrates the depth and scope of Pioneer Hi-Bred’s research and production capabilities.”

“Pioneer moved quickly on this discovery process,” says Steve Strelkov, a plant researcher at the University of Alberta. He worked with Pioneer Hi-Bred to test the resistant lines. “It’s good to have this partnership between private and public institutions. It fosters these synergies and it helps to speed things up and get products into farmers’ hands.”

Pioneer Hi-Bred tested 45H29 under heavy disease pressure. “When the trials were evaluated, the new hybrid was shoulder height and the roots were healthy,” says Igor Falak, Pioneer Hi-Bred research scientist. “We used another Pioneer hybrid without the resistance genes as acheck. That hybrid was only knee high.”

The company produced some seed of the new hybrid at its winter facility in Chile. There will be a limited quantity for sale this spring and it will be in Product Advancement Trials (PAT), the company's wide-area field-scale trialing program for product evaluation.

Clubroot spreads mainly by the movement of soil between fields. Disease-causing spores persist in the soil for up to 20 years. Clubroot galls develop on canola roots and starve the aboveground parts of the plant of nutrients and water.

As a premier seed supplier, Pioneer Hi-Bred is committed to providing value to the Canadian farmer through high quality products, exceptional science and unparalleled service. In Western Canada, the company is committed to building market share. In the last year, the company has more than doubled its field staff in the west and has opened a state-of-the-art $12 million canola seed production plant in Lethbridge, Alberta.

Established in 1946, Pioneer Hi-Bred Limited is Canada's premier seed company and a wholly owned subsidiary of Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business. Pioneer Hi-Bred is the world’s leading source of customized solutions for farmers, livestock producers and grain and oilseed processors. With headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, Pioneer provides access to advanced plant genetics in nearly 70 countries.