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Dow Advancing Insect-Resistant Trait

Zacks Equity Research

Dow AgroSciences LLC, a wholly-owned unit of The Dow Chemical Company (DOW), is advancing an insect resistant trait that will offer soybean growers greater ability to resist attacks from plant chewing insects. The new traits, when commercialized, will protect soybean plants from lepidopteran pests, such as fall armyworm, soybean looper, velvetbean caterpillar, soybean podworm and tobacco budworm.

The insect-resistant soybean trait being developed by Dow AgroSciences will enable the soybean crop to produce two proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a bacteria that can cause disease among insects, and is the first such technology to be submitted for regulatory approvals.

Dow plans to commercialize the trait – submitted for regulatory approval in major soybean countries – in South America, especially in Brazil and Argentina. According to Dow, soybean growers in Brazil and Argentina face significant impact to their yields due to insects. The trait is expected to be available for elite and high-yield soybean varieties in both markets over the next three to five years.

Once the soybean insect-resistant trait receives regulatory approvals, it will be stacked with the company’s innovative Enlist soybean traits in elite and high-yielding varieties. This will provide the required insect control along with tolerance to multiple herbicides for improved weed management to allow the crops to maximize yield in a highly efficient and sustainable manner.

Recently, Dow AgroSciences entered into research and development collaboration with Edinburgh, UK-based synthetic promoter Synpromics. Under the deal, the collaboration will aid development of Synpromics’ proprietary technology for application in plant science. The deal marks the first notable partnership of Dow AgroSciences with a Scottish company.  

Indianapolis, Ind.-based Dow AgroSciences produces leading-edge crop protection and plant biotechnology solutions for customers’ pressing crop production problems. The solutions boost agricultural productivity to maximum sustainable levels to meet the challenges of the growing world. They are committed to increase crop productivity through higher yields, better varieties, and more targeted pest management control.

Dow currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other companies in the chemical industry worth considering are Air Products and Chemicals Inc. (APD), BASF SE (BASFY) and FMC Corp. (FMC). All of them hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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