SAN ANTONIO – Representatives from both DEKALB and WestBred set up shop in the Bayer Crop Science booth at Commodity Classic, Feb. 27-29, to discuss with farmers in attendance about what’s new for 2020.

Kathleen McKittrick, DEKALB brand manager, says the company is really excited to turn the page to 2020 following a challenging 2019.

“2019 was a really challenging year for a lot of our growers, so we’ve got some great products in the portfolio that we’re introducing this year,” she said.

2020 will be the first year DEKALB is offering Acceleron seed treatment seamlessly across all of their products with enhanced disease control. With Acceleron, farmers can control early-to-mid-season disease by reducing infections cause by Fusarium, Rhizoctonia solani and Colletotrichum graminicola.

The product is automatically included on all new and select top-performing products in 2020. This added value covers more than 40 percent of the DEKALB lineup.

Acceleron also offers added value, as corn fields treated with the product have shown a 3.7 bushel per acre advantage compared to products without enhanced disease control.

“When you think about our entire product portfolio, one of the things we pride ourselves on at DEKALB is consistency and reliability,” McKittrick said. “Whether it comes down to yield, late-season standability or dry down, you can really rely on DEKALB for those products.”

A.J. Hohmann, U.S. marketing manager for Bayer, says their goal with Acceleron is to make sure farmers are protected against whatever Mother Nature throws their way, whether growing corn or soybean.

“If this year is a cool moist season like it has been in recent years, especially during planting, that’s where having a seed treatment can really provide dividends across different diseases,” he said. “We need to protect against these diseases to make sure the large investment farmers are making today in seed is fully protected.”

Farmers always hear about fungicides and insecticides, but according to Hohmann, Acceleron is so much more than that.

“Not only do we have the fungicides to protect against diseases, but we have nematicides to help protect against plant-parasitic nematodes, which are proven to rob up to 10 percent of yield,” he said. “We want to ensure corn/soybean plants are taking advantage of what Mother Nature is already doing in the soil to develop a healthy root system and an overall healthy plant throughout the growing season.”

Randy Longest, WestBred Wheat account manager, says the combination of Bayer’s crop protection portfolio with great WestBred genetics provides real value for growers to improve productivity and profitability.

“We’re continually looking to add value to the farmer and there are a lot of innovations out there that we monitor and evaluate all the time,” Longest said. “If there’s an innovation in wheat that we think makes sense, we’re going to put some wheels behind it and move forward.”

Right now, WestBred’s approach is wide open.

“Whether it’s hybrids, gene editing or advanced marker assistance breeding, we’re continuing to look at what pathway brings the most value the fastest,” he said. “The last couple of growing seasons, depending where you are in the U.S., Mother Nature has not always been kind to the wheat farmer. Last spring we had extreme flooding and water in the winter wheat areas, so a lot of fields were lost. Spring wheat was delayed with all the rains in that market area. So the big thing is to fight another day.

“There were a lot of acres that didn’t turn out the way farmers wanted because of the weather, but we can’t control that,” Longest continued. “We need to focus on what we can control and that is that integrated solution offering. We’re giving farmers the opportunity to move forward. Prices aren’t where we want them to be, so the only way to offset that is to raise more bushels and dilute your costs over a greater bushel base.”