DuPont has introduced the first sulfonylurea (SU)-tolerant sunflower hybrids in Europe—Pioneer-brand sunflower hybrids with the Express SX Herbicide-Tolerant trait. The goal is to increase the harvestable yield to meet the demands of producers and consumers in the oilseed market, whether for biofuels or cooking oils.
Unlike other herbicide-tolerant crops currently on the market, Express Herbicide Tolerant Sunflower seed is derived through traditional plant-breeding methods. A herbicide-tolerant trait, proprietary to DuPont, was integrated into the germplasm of Pioneer brand high-yielding sunflower hybrids.
Sulfonylureas are a potent family of herbicides that were discovered by DuPont Crop Protection in 1975 and first commercialized for wheat and barley crops in 1982. Sulfonylureas comprise a family of compounds which kill broadleaf plants by blocking the plant enzyme acetolactate synthase (ALS), an enzyme important to the plant for the synthesis of some amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine).
They now have been developed and commercialized worldwide in all major agronomic crops and for many specialty uses (e.g., rangeland/pasture, forestry, vegetation management).
A joint effort between DuPont Crop Protection and DuPont subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred International, the sunflower hybrids provide growers with a post-emergent control option for annual broadleaf weeds, without killing the crop. Broadleaf weeds, both annual and perennial, are the leading weed spectrums affecting sunflower yields.
In the past, the lack of choice in weed control forced many sunflower farmers in Europe to rely on more expensive, less effective pre-emergent options that often did little to eliminate weed competition losses in their sunflower fields. By enhancing our industry leading sunflower products to perform effectively with our quality herbicide lineup, farmers have the potential for more yield advantages, along with improved weed control options.—Erik Fyrwald, group vice president, DuPont Agriculture & Nutrition
Already available to growers in Eastern Europe, the line of sunflower seed will be introduced in select regions of the United States for the 2007 planting season. This will coincide with the introduction of new herbicides with soluble granules, specifically created for use with sunflowers.