Dow setting up limited launch for Enlist corn

With U.S. approvals expected soon, Dow AgroSciences now plans to make Eastern Canada its worldwide launch point for its glyphosate- and 2,4-D-tolerant Enlist corn this spring.

The company on Friday said it plans to run a “managed introduction” of the Enlist corn cropping system in Canada this spring, under what it’s dubbed the Canada Field Forward program.

While already approved in Canada, Dow had so far held its Enlist products back from Canadian commercial release pending U.S. approvals, “out of respect for movement of grain between the two countries.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency last week indicated they plan to approve Enlist corn and Enlist Duo herbicide respectively in time for what Dow has said should now be a 2015 launch. [Related story]

From an export marketing standpoint, if Enlist products were released in Canada before U.S. approvals are obtained, Canadian growers could be left unable to ship their Enlist corn south, though most Canadian corn is consumed domestically, either by livestock or to make ethanol.

The Field Forward program, Dow said Friday, “allows growers to manage new products on their farms under stewarded conditions and on commercial-size fields.” Enlist will be “the first technology to be showcased” within the program.

The program will see “multiple” locations set up in Eastern Canada, planted to Enlist corn and sprayed with Enlist Duo, products approved for farm use in Canada in 2012 and last year respectively.

Participating growers are to “manage the technology according to the herbicide label and product use guide, and will employ best management practices” prescribed by Dow, the company said.

Growers taking part in the program will be “engaged with Dow AgroSciences throughout the season as they evaluate and steward the technology on their farms” and will use the production from the Field Forward sites on their farms upon harvest, the company said.

Enlist corn and soybeans, both of which are approved in Canada, have been genetically modified for tolerance to Enlist Duo herbicide, a “proprietary” blend of glyphosate and 2,4-D choline.

Enlist Duo incorporates what Dow calls “Colex-D” technology, which it said will offer benefits such as “ultra-low” volatility, reduced potential for drift, “decreased” odour and “improved handling characteristics.”

Enlist crops have already been approved for import by several countries and are “in the process” for others, Dow said.

A full commercial launch of Enlist corn in Canada is still on hold, however, pending regulatory approvals in “additional key import geographies.” Dow now expects the full launch in Canada in 2015.

“This product was designed with the grower as a central focus,” Dow AgroSciences Canada president Jim Wispinski said Friday in the company’s release. “It’s exciting to see the technology get to the farm gate.”

Enlist will provide growers with “a new and needed solution to help manage problem weeds and maximize yields,” Joe Vertin, Dow’s global business leader for Enlist, said in a separate release.

“Through our Field Forward program, farmers will be able to see Enlist perform on typical fields and conditions, while also ensuring the proper stewardship activities are in place to manage the grain production on-farm.”

Dow said Friday it will also run a plot program in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba during the 2014 growing season, including field plot tours for growers, retailers and seed sellers “to familiarize them with all aspects of the Enlist technology.”

Health Canada last year also approved the next-generation “Enlist E3″ trait stack in soybeans, which adds glufosinate herbicide tolerance to the Enlist genetic package. [Related]

Glufosinate is best known as the active ingredient in Bayer CropScience’s Liberty line of herbicides. — Network


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