Mar. 28, 2019
Verdeca, a joint venture between Arcadia Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKDA) and Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp. (NYSE American: BIOX), introduced pre-commercial soybean varieties carrying the drought-tolerant HB4® trait to growers in Argentina at the country’s largest farm show, Expoagro, held March 12th to 15th in San Nicolas, Argentina. The soybean varieties deliver two layers of value for growers: drought and herbicide tolerance.
The HB4 trait is Verdeca’s first release from a pipeline of yield and quality traits and demonstrates the company’s ability to bring innovation to soybean growers. The result of years of R&D, HB4 soybean varieties reduce yield loss when the crop is challenged by drought.
More than 1,200 attendees toured the Verdeca pavilion and field plots to see HB4 soybeans. Growers visiting the Verdeca pavilion signed on to the company’s Bio-Innovator program, which grants priority access to test HB4 soybean varieties in their fields.
“After the worst drought of the last 50 years, soybean growers are keenly aware of the difficulties in maintaining high yields in the face of climate uncertainty,” said Martin Mariani Ventura, general manager of Verdeca. “Our field trials in the drought-stricken areas of Argentina showed HB4 soybeans can significantly preserve yield compared with non-HB4 soybean varieties.”
In addition to drought tolerance, HB4 soybeans also offer resistance to glufosinate, a broad-spectrum herbicide used to control a wide range of weeds. Field plots at Expoagro demonstrated the effectiveness of the trait plus herbicide combination to control weeds in plots artificially infested with Amaranthus sp., volunteer corn and other grasses.
“Farmers have responded favorably to the pre-commercial introduction of our HB4 technology, reinforcing the market demand and potential for climate resilient crops,” said Raj Ketkar, president and CEO of Arcadia Biosciences. “HB4 trait technology is currently being bred into elite soybean varieties by Verdeca’s seed company partners, and we are preparing for the commercial launch of HB4 in 2019, pending regulatory approval in China.”
Arcadia and Bioceres formed Verdeca in 2012 to deploy next-generation soybean traits across all key production regions, beginning in South America and North America, which together represent nearly 80 percent of the harvested soybean acres globally. Verdeca’s HB4 trait has already been approved in Argentina and by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Regulatory submissions are currently under consideration by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and China.