DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- Monsanto officials revealed their contingency plan for sale of the new Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean lineup for 2016. Farmers will be allowed to pre-order seeds carrying traits that allow use with glyphosate and dicamba with a guarantee of substitute product if commercialization does not occur.
While the Xtend trait, which gives dicamba tolerance, was deregulated in the United States earlier this year, Monsanto's herbicide component of the package awaits clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). BASF also has a low-volatility formulation of dicamba called Engenia that awaits registration. In addition, the trait does not have import approvals from China, an important customer of U.S. soybeans.
In a written statement, the company said farmers will be able to place a reservation this fall to take advantage of seed discounts. If Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans clear regulatory hurdles, the pre-orders will be processed and shipped as normal.
Monsanto did go to market with its new Xtend cotton varieties without the herbicide approval or China trait approval, but the company has been hesitant to do the same given the importance of China to the U.S. soybean market.
"In the event Monsanto does not commercially sell the product next season, the company has sufficient volume of leading Roundup Ready 2 Yield products held in reserve, and farmers would have the opportunity to choose from high-performing products selected for their regions," the release read. "If this would occur, all applicable discounts associated with Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean pre-orders will be applied to the Roundup Ready 2 Yield replacement products."
The company also indicated it anticipates finalizing commercial intentions in the coming months. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans will be available in Asgrow brand, Channel brand and Monsanto regional brands. Some Monsanto licensees also have the opportunity to participate in similar pre-commercial activities including the reservation process in their seed brands. The company release indicated plans to introduce more than 60 varieties across eight maturity groups with improved resistance packages against nematodes and Phythophthora root rot.
This year, Monsanto had nearly 100 farmers participating in a soybean program called Ground Breakers that allows an early peek at products not fully commercialized. The program was folded into the company's seed production program for 2015, and all Xtend soybean seed harvested will be used as seed for the 2016 planting season, pending regulatory approvals. Old versions of dicamba were not approved for use on Xtend seeds in 2015.
Dow AgroSciences is also in regulatory limbo with the Enlist Weed Control System, a trait based on 2,4-D technology. Although Dow has received all the necessary labels and regulatory approvals to commercialize in the United States, the trait has not yet received vital China approvals.
In response to DTN inquiries, Dow AgroSciences said it continues to assess the launch of Enlist soybeans and "will evaluate options based on the status of import approvals as the 2016 season gets closer." In 2015, Enlist soybeans were grown in a stewarded program for seed increase only. The company also said it would launch Enlist corn in the U.S. in 2016, pending import approvals.
Pamela Smith can be reached at Pamela.firstname.lastname@example.org
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