Dow’s 2,4-D-tolerant corn, soy traits get federal approval

Canadian corn growers can expect to see Dow AgroSciences’ new 2,4-D-tolerant corn system on the market next year following approvals for the trait last week.

The company on Friday announced it had picked up approval from "Canadian regulatory authorities" for the trait in corn and soybeans that forms the basis of its new Enlist herbicide-tolerant cropping system.

"This will allow for the first-ever cultivation of the traits, which provide tolerance to 2,4-D herbicide, giving Canadian farmers options and advanced technology for dealing with hard-to-control and resistant weeds in both crops," the company said in a release.

Dow expects to launch the Enlist system for corn in both Canada and the U.S. in time for spring planting in 2013, "once regulatory approvals are secured for all components of the system."

The same system for soybeans is expected to be launched in Canada and the U.S. for the 2015 growing season, pending further approvals, the company said.

The Enlist corn and soybean traits have been evaluated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada and have been approved for food, feed, and environmental release, the company said, noting approvals are also being sought in Brazil and Argentina as well as the U.S.

Dow has touted Enlist as "a next-generation system that combines innovative traits, herbicides and stewardship to deliver weed control that farmers need now while sustaining beneficial farming practices."

Enlist’s 2,4-D-tolerant germplasm is to be stacked with a glyphosate-tolerant trait as well as insect-resistant traits, the company said in March last year when it announced U.S. approvals were "pending."

Dow has viewed the Enlist system as a complement to Monsanto’s glyphosate-tolerant Roundup Ready (RR) crops, noting weeds have adapted to current herbicide-tolerant cropping systems, leading to a "decline of herbicide performance."

"Kindle"

Dow officials expect the Enlist system not only to prolong the usefulness of other herbicides and herbicide-tolerant crops by broadening herbicide rotations, but also to rival those other cropping systems.

Dow AgroSciences’ CEO last summer told Reuters it describes Enlist as the company’s "Amazon Kindle," referring to the e-book reader released in 2007 that has pulled market share away from traditional paper-and-ink books.

Dow said Friday it also plans a "comprehensive stewardship program" for Enlist, developed with "extensive input from farmers and other key stakeholders" to promote "responsible use of the Enlist system."

The stewardship program is expected to offer "technology advancements (and) management recommendations" but also "education, tools and training."

Dow last month said it would ensure its labeling for Enlist will provide specific instructions for herbicide applications near sensitive crops, including education programs for farmers and commercial applicators to limit "off-target movement" of the chemical.’

Dow said it would also pledge to help investigate any damage claims on non-targeted crops, and in educating growers and applicators in proper application to reduce off target movement, especially in areas with sensitive crops.

Related stories:
2,4-D-tolerant Canadian corn, soy a few years away, March 4, 2011
Dow to take on Monsanto with new biotech soybean, Aug. 22, 2011
Weed resistance found growing to 2,4-D, Aug. 16, 2012
Dow agrees to safeguards on 2,4-D-tolerant crop system, Sept. 12, 2012

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