EU Approves Imports of New Soybean Genetics

The European Union has issued its long-awaited approval for three biotech traits in soybeans.

Monsanto’s Xtend and Vistive Gold traits, as well as Bayer’s Balance GT soybeans, have been approved for import and food/feed use.

Monsanto planned to introduce its dicamba and glyphosate-tolerant Xtend soybeans in Canada for the 2016 growing season, but seed was held back due to the lack of import clearance in the EU. The company says it’s looking forward to a full system launch in Canada and the U.S. in 2017, with seed to supply 15 million U.S. soy acres.

“We’ve seen great demand from growers for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans,” said Brett Begemann, Monsanto President and Chief Operating Officer, in a statement on Friday morning. “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.”

All the required biotech and herbicide approvals for the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend system are in place in Canada. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency has not yet approved the use of dicamba herbicide on Xtend soybeans. Monsanto says the herbicide approvals “are tracking for a late summer, early fall approval.”

The other two soybean traits approved by the EU are a high-oleic, glyphosate-tolerant line developed by Monsanto, known as Vistive Gold, and a stacked glyphosate and isoxaflutole-tolerant product from Bayer, known as Balance GT. All three began the EU’s import approval process in 2011 or 2012 and had been waiting for the final approval for over six months. The EU Ombudsman, in January, said the delays at this stage of the biotech approval process were unreasonable and constituted “maladministration.”

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