It’s been a busy few years in trait development at Bayer CropScience, and 2014 is set to be another milestone year for the company.
This season, Bayer CropScience is set to introduce TwinLink, a dual-gene trait that offers season-long Bt protection against worm pests, as well as tolerance to full label rates of Liberty herbicide. Growers selecting new Stoneville or FiberMax varieties in 2014 could see the new trait packaged with GlyTol and LibertyLink and packaged as GLT.
In 2011, Bayer CropScience launched GlyTol, GlyTol LibertyLink, and GlyTol LibertyLink Bollgard II. This was an industry first, according to Paul Callaghan, Bayer CropScience global cotton traits manager. The company had the first two-herbicide trait stack in the marketplace. The introduction of TwinLink in 2014 allows Bayer CropScience to maintain its two-herbicide trait package and stack it with an insect trait that is proprietary to the company.
“There is no other cotton trait stack that gives growers full tolerance to both Liberty and glyphosate herbicides,” says Callaghan. “It offers flexibility, convenience, the ability to rotate modes of action and control those tough weeds – these are all aspects of the GlyTol LibertyLink trait which will be stacked with TwinLink.”
Bayer CropScience representatives say the TwinLink trait’s insect control features are remarkable in their own right.
“I can emphatically stand in front of you today and tell you that TwinLink is second to nobody in the marketplace when it comes to insect control,” Callaghan says.
TwinLink features two proprietary Bayer CropScience genes, which representatives say is important from a durability standpoint. According to Callaghan, insect resistance can develop quickly in scenarios where only one gene is present in an insect trait package. By offering a second gene in the TwinLink trait, researchers at Bayer CropScience have developed a method to stymie any resistance development, ultimately saving growers the added costs of sequential insecticide applications.
Callaghan says the TwinLink package offers protection against “the majority of the insect spectrum that we are facing in the United States,” while also remaining harmless to the vast majority of beneficial insects found in a typical field of cotton. It provides effective management of the major lepidopteran pests, such as cotton bollworm and cotton leafworms.
But for all the marketable features of TwinLink on its own, the focus from Bayer CropScience seems to be on presenting the trait as part of the larger proprietary trait package, GlyTol LibertyLink TwinLink. As Callaghan points out, no other company is able to offer varieties that feature tolerance to both Liberty herbicide and glyphosate, while simultaneously offering the broad-spectrum insect control that TwinLink brings to the table.
“When you look at the availability of herbicides stacked with insect traits, there are three stacks that are available in the market today,” Callaghan says, going on to compare the new Bayer CropScience trait with its competitors. “One is our own GlyTol LibertyLink TwinLink, one is Monsanto’s Bollgard II Roundup Ready Flex and the other is Dow’s WideStrike Flex.
“We all have good glyphosate tolerance. We also all know what has happened in the marketplace with weed resistance, and Liberty has become a very large component of growers’ success over the last few years. When you look at Liberty herbicide tolerance, nobody has a better package than our GlyTol LibertyLink,” Callaghan says.
“When you couple that GlyTol LibertyLink and stack the TwinLink trait with it, it is truly a powerful tool that will help growers,” Callaghan says.