New glyphosate tolerance traits coming to canola

A new trait that allows canola plants to tolerate exposure to higher levels of glyphosate than the current genetically-modified gene pool is expected to be available for "preview" in 2014.

Monsanto Canada recently announced it has picked up "full food, feed and environmental safety approval" from Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for its next-generation Roundup Ready canola trait, to be branded TruFlex Roundup Ready.

CFIA’s plant biosafety office and animal feed division granted its approval June 8, followed by food approval from Health Canada June 18, Monsanto said in a release.

Monsanto said it expects to be able to offer a "commercial preview launch" to canola growers in 2014.

Farmers, Monsanto said, will have "a wider window of application and greater flexibility to utilize a higher rate of Roundup-brand herbicides to provide more effective control of perennial weeds and tough-to-control annual weeds in their canola fields."

With increased crop tolerance for glyphosate, farmers will have the "flexibility" to use the rate they need for "tough-to-control" weeds, such as dandelions and foxtail barley, said David Kelner, Monsanto’s canola technical lead for Western Canada.

The wider application window, he said, will allow farmers to "deal with poor weather conditions that prevent spraying, without risk of crop injury due to late application."

Further regulatory submissions have been made in "key production and import countries," Monsanto said, adding the company "continues to test trait performance in broadly-adapted germplasm."

Additional export country approvals are required before the new products’ commercial launch, Monsanto said, but the company added it "continues to work closely with the Canola Council of Canada to keep them informed of global regulatory approvals and commercial launch plans."

"Added convenience"

Monsanto’s announcement follows a similar release at the end of May by DuPont-owned seed giant Pioneer Hi-Bred, which is in the process of rebranding itself under the new name DuPont Pioneer.

The company announced it has picked up Canadian regulatory approval for cultivation, feed and food use of its proprietary glyphosate-tolerant Optimum GLY brand canola.

Optimum GLY canola was developed partly using the company’s own DNA shuffling technology to provide tolerance to glyphosate herbicide and offer "greater convenience for growers," the company said.

Pioneer said it expects to commercialize Optimum GLY canola in "mid-decade," pending key regulatory approvals from export markets globally.

"This regulatory milestone brings Pioneer one step closer to offering farmers additional glyphosate-tolerant options in canola," the company said.

The new product line "will meet farmer demand for this advanced weed control option, provide greater marketplace choice and increased application flexibility," Pioneer’s president for Canada, Ian Grant, said in the company’s release.

Related story:
Monsanto, DuPont take seed battle to trial, July 13, 2012

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