China clears Xtend soybean variety for import

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Reuters — Monsanto said on Feb. 3 it received import approval from China for its new genetically modified Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans and will sell the seeds in the U.S. and Canada for the 2016 growing season.

China, the world’s biggest soybean importer, does not allow imports of new genetically modified crops until they are approved by government regulators.

The U.S. seed and agrochemical company’s next-generation soybean variety is engineered to tolerate applications of both glyphosate and dicamba amid a growing problem of glyphosate-resistant weeds in North America.

Dicamba herbicide use is allowed in Canada, but not yet approved in the U.S., where the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is still reviewing the chemical, Monsanto said.

Monsanto said the EPA approval is in the “late stage” and the company will offer discounts to U.S. farmers buying Roundup Ready 2 Xtend seeds in case the regulatory approval does not arrive in time for the 2016 growing season.

The company is aiming for three million acres planted in the upcoming season and expects the genetic technology to be planted to two-thirds of U.S. soybean acres by 2019. The company also licenses its GMO properties to other seed companies.

“To date, we’ve had significant pre-orders from farmers and are excited to move forward with commercialization,” Miriam Paris, Monsanto’s U.S. soybean marketing manager, said in a release.

Monsanto has had clearance in Canada for the glyphosate- and dicamba-tolerant trait stack since 2013.

The company has previously said its field testing of Xtend soybeans in southern Ontario showed dicamba has “proven effective” on glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed and Canada fleabane populations in the province.

The option to use dicamba in soybeans is also expected to offer improved control of other populations of herbicide-resistant weeds, such as Group 2- or Group 5-resistant biotypes, that are also known to exist in Canada, Monsanto said previously.

Reporting for Reuters by Karl Plume. Includes files from AGCanada.com Network staff.

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