EU approves three biotech soybean traits

By Daniel Enoch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, July 22, 2016 -  After a long delay, the European Union has approved three biotech soybean traits for import and processing, according to the U.S. Soybean Export Council.

The stacked even ts are:

Monsanto's Roundup Ready 2 Xtend (MON87708 x MON89788, with dicamba and glyphosate tolerance. It is approved in China and is being planted by U.S. farmers.) 

Monsanto's Vistive Gold (MON87705 x MON89788, the product is high-oleic with glyphosate tolerance and is being grown by U.S. farmers to provide trans-fat free soybean oil for the food industry.

Bayer CropScience's Balance GT (FG72, with isoxaflutole and glyphosate resistance. The product is a soybean being grown for seed increase multiplication with an expected commercial launch this fall.

Lets Talk Food

"The EU's approval of these events is welcome news for U.S. soybean farmers," USSEC chairman Laura Foell, a soybean grower from Schaller, Iowa, said in a release. “We're happy that we can supply our European customers with a reliable supply of safe food.”

In April, the American Soybean Association sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman urging the Obama administration to press the European Commission - the EU's executive arm -- to approve the products, pointing out that they had been waiting final approval since January. The applications were submitted to the European Food Safety Commission in the summer of 2011.

In the letter, ASA said approval was needed “for the EU Commission to have any semblance of a working biotech approval process.” It also noted that timely approval would “avoid the risk of unnecessary costs and disruption to the essential supply of feedstocks needed by the EU's livestock, poultry and feed industries, which are more than 70 percent dependent on imports of protein.”

In a news release, Monsanto said the EU approval of Roundup Ready 2 Xtend follows China's import acceptance in February.

“With both the EU and Chinese import approvals and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the final stages of review for over-the-top use, Monsanto can now look forward to a full system launch in the United States in 2017 and continues to be in a strong position to supply roughly 15 million U.S. soy acres when the selling season arrives,” the St. Louis-based company said.

“We've seen great demand from growers for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans,” said Monsanto CEO Brett Begemann. “Farmers are telling us they're looking forward to the benefits of the full Xtend Crop System, including over-the-top use of dicamba and glyphosate. We're excited to give Canadian growers this opportunity in 2017, along with US growers pending final EPA approval.”

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Miriam Paris, Monsanto's U.S. soybean marketing manager, reminded growers that at this time, there are still no dicamba formulations registered for in-crop use in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans or Bollgard II XtendFlex in the United States.

“The approvals for in-crop use of dicamba are in the late stages of review by the EPA and are tracking for a late summer, early fall approval. Pending dicamba over-the-top approval, growers will continue to maximize their yield opportunity through the weed management recommendations and incentives provided by Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions.”

USSEC says Europe is one of the largest customers of U.S. soybean farmers with over 165 million bushels of soybeans in exports already this year.

(This story was updated at 10 a.m. to include Monsanto comment.)

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