Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Soybean farmers concerned about using new Roundup Ready product not yet approved in Europe

Grain farmers are being warned to be wary of planting Monsanto's latest biotech soybean due to concerns that it has not been approved for sale in the European Union, Tom Meersman reports for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend, is "a genetically modified soybean seed that is resisistant to a pair of herbicides called glyphosate and dicamba." It "was developed because weeds have become resistant to Roundup Ready varieties with traits that used glyphosate alone. The genetic modifications in the new seed allow both pesticides to be used without harming the soybeans." (Associated Press photo by Dan Gill: Roundup Ready soybeans)

Concern about marketability the European Union is leading to fear that the new bean "will cause price declines, confusion and disruption in international trade," Meersman writes. "The reason it’s a risk is because unapproved soybeans and approved soybeans often get mixed together in grain elevators, unit trains or ships when they’re exported, and it’s difficult and expensive for grain buyers and sellers to try to keep them separate."

In Minnesota in 2015 "farmers planted 7.6 million acres of soybeans, making it the nation’s fourth-largest producer with estimated sales valued at $3.25 billion," Meersman writes. "A similar problem with unapproved seeds occurred in 2013 and 2014 with a different seed company and a different market. China turned away shipments of U.S. corn containing a Syngenta AG trait called Viptera — engineered to control insects—that it had not approved. The resulting confusion resulted in lawsuits against Syngenta by Cargill Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Co. and individual producers claiming millions of dollars in lost sales or lower prices." (Read more)

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