Arkansas to breed and test new Enlist soybean traited varieties

Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station scientists are breeding new Arkansas-adapted soybean varieties with the Enlist “E3” soybean trait. With these upcoming varieties, experiment station soybean breeders hope to give Arkansas growers greater weed-control flexibility. Leandro Mozzoni, soybean breeder for the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, says the Enlist E3 soybean trait will give local producers access to new Arkansas-adapted soybean
varieties with more weed control options. Enlist E3 soybeans are tolerant to three different herbicides — 2,4-D choline, glufosinate and glyphosate.

“It opens up an opportunity to spray three different technologies postemergence, and that should help with weed management,” he said. “Accessing this particular trait lets us serve every farmer in a direct fashion.”

The Enlist E3 soybean trait was licensed to the Division of Agriculture through agreements with Corteva Agriscience and M.S. Technologies, which jointly developed and own the transgenic soybean event.

“Corteva Agriscience is excited to enable the work of the Division of Agriculture breeders with the Enlist E3 soybean trait, which will expand germplasm supplier options for farmers in the state,” said Mike Dillon, Corteva Agriscience global soybean portfolio leader. “We believe Enlist E3 soybeans that are bred to fit local growing environments, alongside the Enlist weed control system, will offer significant advantages for soybean growers in Arkansas.”

“This is great news for Arkansas soybean growers,” said Joseph Merschman, president of M.S. Technologies. “Demand for Enlist E3 soybeans has rapidly expanded across the U.S, and this arrangement means more Arkansas growers will be able to enjoy the benefits of this technology — exceptional, flexible and neighbor-friendly weed control packaged in high-yielding elite genetics.”

In 2019, more than 2.6 million acres of soybeans were harvested by Arkansas producers. Mozzoni’s Enlist E3 soybean breeding efforts are intended to meet the state’s commercial soybean producers’ needs, providing more varieties specifically adapted to Arkansas’ growing conditions.

“Anything we do in our program must be adapted to Arkansas first before it can be tested elsewhere,” Mozzoni said. “Everything that we do, from the moment we plan the cross all the way through all the different stages of testing, is done in Arkansas. If a line does not perform well in Arkansas, it will not get advanced.

“A Maturity Group 4 Enlist E3 soybean, developed locally and locally adapted, would be a great addition to the product portfolio of the Arkansas Soybean Breeding Program,” Mozzoni said. “Maturity Group 4 soybeans are the bread-and-butter of Arkansas’ soybean farming, representing approximately 80 percent of soybean acres in the state.”

Mozzoni began incorporating the Enlist E3 soybean trait into Arkansas breeding lines in the summer of 2020. “We expect that the first entries will be in the official Arkansas Variety Trials by 2023,” he said. The Division of Agriculture will out-license Enlist E3 soybean varieties commercially when they are ready for release.

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