Stacked LL/RR canola off the menu for 2016

Concerns over seed quality, acceptance in Europe drag on launch

The first canola hybrid to stack Genuity Roundup Ready and LibertyLink traits in one seed won’t be on the market for this growing season.

Just weeks after its Jan. 22 announcement of a limited launch for InVigor Choice LR250 for the 2016 season, Bayer CropScience Canada now says concerns over seed quality and export market access have led it to push the launch back to an as-yet undecided date.

“Through our regular seed monitoring measures we have discovered that the quality of the new hybrid seed is not meeting our high-quality standards,” Bayer’s manager for oilseed crop traits, James Humphris, said via email.

Bayer, he said, is “disappointed with the decision to delay the launch of InVigor Choice… but our decision to ensure the Canadian marketplace has the high-quality InVigor hybrid canola they’ve come to trust over the last 20 years is important.”

Bayer began working on a LibertyLink/Roundup Ready hybrid back in 2009, when the company signed a cross-licensing agreement with Monsanto for access to each other’s herbicide-tolerant traits.

Given the complexity of the science involved, the company said Tuesday it’s “in the very early stage of understanding the quality issue and how to solve it. It is our intent to correct the issue and introduce the new InVigor hybrid as soon as possible.”


Seed quality issues aside, Humphris also noted a recent shift in export projections for Canadian canola to Europe over the next two years — exports he said “are now expected to significantly exceed historic export levels.”

Given the change in Europe’s canola import projections, the company said Tuesday, “we also need to fully assess what this means to the canola industry in Canada. Therefore, it could have ramifications on the launch of the InVigor Choice hybrid.”

Thus, Humphris said, Bayer “will work with our industry partners to fully assess and evaluate this unprecedented market dynamic, helping ensure Canadian growers have access to new and growing markets.”

The company said it plans to provide growers with an InVigor hybrid canola with the flexibility to use Genuity Roundup Ready technology “as soon as we understand our quality issue and comprehend the market dynamics better.”

Tariffs on canola oil exports to the European Union are expected to be immediately eliminated when a Canada/EU free trade deal is implemented, but the deal also contains language meant to reduce biotech-related non-tariff barriers between Canada and the EU bloc.

The EU brought a law into force last year allowing individual EU member states to opt out from allowing cultivation of any EU-approved genetically modified (GMO) crops.

However, the European Parliament last fall rejected a similar law that proposed to allow member states to opt out from allowing sale and use, other than cultivation, of EU-approved GMO foods or feeds.

Crops with glyphosate-tolerant Roundup Ready traits and/or glufosinate-tolerant LibertyLink traits are considered GMOs for export purposes.

Bayer’s new LR250 hybrid, when launched last month, was touted as giving growers “the ability to control the toughest weeds on their farm without sacrificing yield.”

The medium-height variety was billed as having strong lodging resistance, an “R” rating against blackleg, and maturity one day later than the average for check varieties.

While InVigor hybrid canola breeding would remain focused on LibertyLink-only hybrids, Humphris said at the time the new variety would give growers “another valuable tool for weed management.”

“We are excited to finally be able to offer this evolutionary hybrid canola to Canadian growers,” he said at the time. “It won’t fit every cropping rotation, but it gives growers another valuable choice to help maximize their operation.” — Network