You might have noticed the trait “Roundup Ready 2” in the latest corn and soybean hybrids. Roundup Ready 2 soybeans are being introduced in Eastern Canada this winter and double and triple stacks in corn are already widely available. Monsanto is now looking to continue this success with advances in its canola program.
Roundup Ready 2 is a different genetic “event” than the original Roundup Ready, but its main feature remains herbicide tolerance. It will provide a wider window of application and higher use rates that give growers the ability to kill tough to control perennial weeds such as dandelions and sow thistle.
By applying its breeding expertise, including molecular marking and genomics, Monsanto also plans to introduce new “Yield” traits such as increased stress tolerance, better yield and possibly even resistance to diseases such as clubroot.
Benefits of increased crop tolerance to environmental stresses are obvious. Growers can count on consistent yields year to year under a broader array of weather stresses. And this means longer-season — and higher-yielding — canola hybrids could be seeded in regions of Western Canada where moisture, heat, or soil considerations are currently limiting factors. This is good news for Canada’s canola industry in general because the product could be in higher demand in the years to follow. This allows Western Canada to be the mainstay of production of this product.
Another advantage from Roundup Ready 2 is better weed control and competitiveness in the canola. Good weed control contributes to increased yields. This will make Roundup Ready canola a more viable option for who do not want to worry about chemical resistance, residue, and volunteer problems in a crop rotation.
A WIDER APPLICATION WINDOW
With Roundup Ready 2, Monsanto is looking to widen the chemical application time frame during the growing season. This takes away concern about late flushes of weeds that can come if you get lots of moisture later in spring after the crop has started to advance. You also have more flexibility to spray when you have time and to focus on more pressing weed matters in other crops. With Roundup Ready 2, canola no longer has a “must spray” stage.
WHEN WILL IT BE OUT?
The next generation of Roundup Ready (Roundup Ready 2 and Roundup Ready 2 + Yield) canola will not be available large-scale production for another six to seven years. Breeding and certification for this type of novel-trait product can take years. After that, more testing and more research has to be done to make sure the product is fit for large-scale production. And a product used for human consumption must meet standards in export markets. So even though the next generation of Roundup Ready canola products from Monsanto are on the horizon, it will still be a while before we will be seeing the new Roundup Ready 2 trait or Roundup Ready 2 + Yield canola in large scale production in Western Canada.
Jay Peterson farms near Frontier, Sask. He graduated from University of Saskatchewan in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness.