FARGO, N.D., Oct. 16, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northstar Agri Industries, a subsidiary of PICO Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:PICO) and the first purpose-built canola processing facility in the U.S., and Bayer CropScience, the innovators of the consistently vigorous and higher-yielding InVigor canola seed, are pleased to announce the addition of the InVigor® L252 hybrid to the Northstar Star Growers High Oil Contract. "The Northstar contract pays growers an extra 5 percent on the first 1,250 pounds per acre of grain. We have very demanding criteria for admission to the program: hybrids need to be top performers in both yield and oil percentage," said Neil Juhnke, President and COO, Northstar. "The seed must yield at least 2 to 3 percent more oil when crushed over others to even be considered for entry. L252 is a real win-win. The farmer gets to grow top yielding hybrids; he or she gets a premium; and our plant gains efficiency with the higher oil." "Northstar has taken a leadership position in North America with its high-oil contract program," said Tom Schuler, Strategic Business Lead for Seeds and Traits North America. "L252 allows growers in Northeast North Dakota and Northwest Minnesota to benefit from this premium, while continuing to benefit from top InVigor genetics that have been field-proven on their farms." Recently launched for the 2014 growing season, L252 is the first InVigor hybrid with premium-level oil content. This mid- to full-maturing hybrid offers everything farmers have come to expect from InVigor genetics: early-season vigor, outstanding yield and the highest rating for blackleg resistance. L252 features the LibertyLink® trait, which gives farmers an alternative to glyphosate-tolerant systems and a tool to fight herbicide resistance. "We are so pleased to add a LibertyLink hybrid to our contract. This now gives our growers access to the full range of herbicide systems available in canola today," said Jay Bjerke, Agronomic Services Manager, Northstar. "Liberty is a great system to rotate with other herbicide systems to enhance volunteer control and prevent the establishment of herbicide-resistant weeds. It's a win-win for everyone."