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DuPont Introduces Herbicide-Tolerant Sunflower Hybrids to Increase Seedoil Production

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.



This way we can just drench the crap out of the landscape with herbicides. Biocide to get biofuels. Nice.

tony chilling

Coming soon, through the marvels of gene slicing;

Herbicide-Tolerant human beings!

Yes, in deed, we are keepers of the Earth!

When will "dirt" become honored as scared dust from God?

Mike H.

Why would anyone whine about this approach? You people will never be satisfied. You want a reduction of CO2 but complain windmills kill birds. You want biofuels but complain about methods for yeild improvements. Stop whining because you're holding back the entire green revolution in the US. How can we kill our addiction of fossil fuels when you can not support greener alternatives. You know there are alot more destructive ways to farm. Even organic farms spray their crops with BT and kill all your pretty butterflies. Yep BT is organic, since they isolate it not from chemicals but a living soil organism. Anyway support the green cause and quiet your ignorance because I'm tired of it. We can't fix anything if you can't accept that there are drawbacks to any feasable alternatives. BTW this sunflower is not a GMO and can be marketed as organic, thank God.

Rafael Seidl

I have no problem with seeing this used on biodiesel feedstock crops. Higher yield means lower prices at the pump, and every little bit counts.

What concerns me is that DuPont is also targeting this at farmers who grow the crop for cooking oil. Spraying powerful herbicides after the crops emerge may be cheaper and do more for crop yields, but doesn't it also increase the toxin load on the food? Perhaps it's not an issue, enlighten me.


I can't consciously advocate it for the exact same reasons as Rafael's talking about, but looking out the window at the flyspeck filter of lethal carcinogens hanging over the sky in Los Angeles right now does add a sad kind of objectivity to it.

These days, life itself is just toxic. Pick your poison. We're being embalmed by our water, air and food. Sad but true.

tony chilling

I do not complain out bird kills by windmills. We can collect them for biology class( unless you are afraid of the flu)

Some how, it seems, scientists can do anything they want if it generates high stock price and profits. I will not bore you with the list of Envio disasters caused by this mentality.
I get very nervious about allowing even more new stuff to be sprayed, by accident on the food that I eat.
Also, all this chemical engineering is for Not, because "Life wants to live". Weeds become tolerate of the stuff and so the chemical guys have to create even more stuff- in a never ending profit/pollute cycle.
The ChemCos have been dragging the farmers around by the ir wallets for decades in the quest for better yields, turning them into chemical junkies.
In the end, poisioning our land, water and air.


As soon as I am convinced that biofuels make sense, I will consider whether or not it is worth drenching our environment with herbicides. And don't put me in the camp amongst those who are complaining about windmills vis a vis birds. Besides, modern day generators are much less harmful to bird life than previous generations. The whole concept here is to sell more hebicides and throw any notion of integrated pest management, much less organic out the window.

There is no way in hell this sunflower can be considered organic when the whole point of this sunflower is to allow the unlimited use of herbicides.


"Coming soon, through the marvels of gene slicing;
Herbicide-Tolerant human beings"

Better yet: Radation-Tolerant human beings.
Think outside the containment dome!


I think we need to separate bio fuels and food. Organic food sounds like a good idea (as we eat it). Organic biofuel sounds like madness. If we want biofuels, we should consider them as plant crops NOT for eating. This gives us a lot of freedom in terms of what crop we can use. [ Sawgrass for instance. ] It will probably take a bit of GM to get the optimal crop, but if we want affordable biofuels, this is what we will have to do.
Pestacide resistance may well be part of the package.

We are not going to have to eat this stuff. If you want to drive SUVs based on biofuels, this is your lot.
Else get a smaller car (diesel Yaris ?) and you might have more "eco friendly" options.


Um they have been uysing that herbacide for a long time folks this just makes it so the plant is less effected by it so it will grow better.

allen zheng

____Algae crops in barren deserts in the West(barren, not cactus). Use recycled plastics, and methods to reduce evaporation. Pipe/train tanker in CO2 from power plants/any facility that produced large quantities of CO2 for Algae. Replace imported oil/gas, then coal, then all fossil energy. Make our nation a net carbon reducer. For a soure of nitrogen, waste water treatment for cities like Las Vegas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, etc could do a double duty. Bio-Oil exportation later. ____Combine that with large solar farms on city rooftops, southern/unobstructed sun facing facades, and in the Southwest, with a way to store the energy for non-sunny periods, and we have a way to solve our growing energy demand into the future.
____Additionally, improve the average efficiency of power plants from mid 30% to high 60%, along with co-generation of heat for commercial/residential /industrial purposes.
____Car pool incentives, congestion pricing, more X-prizes for future tech/innovations. FIX OUR HEALTH AND SCHOOL SYSTEMS SO THAT WE CAN FIX OUR FOSSIL ENERGY ADDICTION THAT IS INDUCING FORCINGS ON OUR GLOBAL CLIMATE.

Erik Snyder

The best biofuel of all is hemp. No herbicides, pesticides, irrigation, etc. Just plant the damn things dry field and they grow and then you harvest them.

Oh wait, that's right, hemp = marijuana = go to jail. Yep. Just as a pit bull = toy poodle. Same species so they must be the same thing, right?

I also don't get how opposing herbicide overuse must mean that one also doesn't like wind turbines. Must have missed that memo.

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