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DefendR - A Strong Line of Defense

Posted: Sep 22, 2021

At BrettYoung, we know that sometimes good just isn’t good enough, and it was with that knowledge that we developed our line of resistant genetic traits for canola: DefendR®.

The DefendR label, introduced approximately five years ago, represents a guarantee that any product bearing the designation contains above industry average levels of genetic resistance to one or more important canola yield-reducing factors including blackleg, clubroot, sclerotinia, and now - pod shattering. We spoke with Rene Mabon, Agronomic and Regulatory Services Manager for BrettYoung, about what sets DefendR varieties apart from the competition.

The DefendR Difference

The DefendR label, Mabon explains, identifies the very best products that BrettYoung has to offer in a number of categories, while also recognizing the outstanding work that our breeding partners have done to build exceptional disease resistance into our varieties.

“What we’ve done with DefendR is set the mark above what the industry standards are for canola,” says Mabon, whose role includes serving as tech support on product issues for the company’s sales staff. “For example, the industry standard for blackleg was that varieties needed to have R resistance. We want to have strong R resistance, but we also want enhanced multigenic blackleg resistance.”

Clubroot DefendR is unique in that it provides stacked first and next-generation clubroot resistance genes. That means that, in addition to protecting against initial pathotypes like 2F, 3H, 5I, 6M and, it also offers protection against most of the newer, more virulent clubroot pathotypes like 3A, 2B, 3D, 8E, 5G, 3O and 5X. Meanwhile, Sclerotinia DefendR offers improved tolerance to sclerotinia stem rot. Mabon says this kind of disease trait stacking is incredibly important in Western Canada where blackleg and sclerotinia are already very common and clubroot is developing an ever-growing foothold in the region.

“You need to have multiple resistances to protect your investment in terms of yield,” he cautions.

Introducing Pod DefendR

One of the latest additions to the DefendR family is Pod DefendR, a highlight of the hybrid canola variety BY 6211TF. It features a non-GMO, genetically based shatter tolerance trait that, if you’re comfortable with straight cutting, is a big step ahead. It was launched in 2021 and has been used in a number of trials and demos this year. Mabon says preliminary results for the Pod DefendR variety have been impressive.

“Even though we had some tough growing conditions this year, its shatter tolerance is looking excellent,” he explains.

Another newcomer that has performed well this season, according to Mabon, is the Clubroot DefendR variety BY 6207TF. It’s a TruFlex hybrid equipped with the latest herbicide technology and provides excellent yield and harvestability.

Choosing a DefendR Rated Variety

There are several factors to consider if you’re considering a canola variety that has DefendR genetic traits, Mabon says. First, he recommends looking at the history of the field it will be going into, your typical management approach and whether or not you’re on a shorter rotation. Once that is determined, he advises choosing material that is appropriate for your field conditions. For example, if you’re planting in an area where there is a sizeable risk of clubroot, you should look at a next-generation clubroot-resistant material. On the other hand, if you’re considering delayed swathing or straight cutting, Pod DefendR is a great choice.

It’s also important, when it comes to choosing a DefendR product, that you don’t wait too long to decide. It’s usually a case of the sooner the better when choosing newer products, says Mabon, since there’s normally limited availability early on in their life cycle.

Other Tools to Protect Your Fields

While DefendR genetic traits go a long way towards protecting against disease, Mabon says there are other tools in the toolbox available to you. Managing your rotation is obviously one of the most important ones. Another is seed treatments like Fortenza® Advanced or BUTEO™ start that protect against pests like Flea Beetles which can cause serious damage to young seedlings. BrettYoung also recently introduced Helix® Saltro® seed treatment and is available on a number of its canola products to protect against air-borne blackleg infections.

To learn more about the DefendR designation or for more advice on protecting your yields, contact your BrettYoung Regional Account Manager today.

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