Know before you grow: Certain corn hybrids not approved for EU market

Demand shifts in the Ontario corn market could mean more of the crop heads to the European Union this year. That could pose a problem for the industry, as certain new hybrids with stacked traits are not yet approved for entry into the EU.

Each individual trait at issue is approved, but because of how the EU approval process works, each trait stack/combination must also be approved separately. Currently, hybrids featuring the Trecepta and Qrome stacks do not have full approval into the EU.

Ontario’s corn industry is currently trying to figure out the best approach to navigating this situation, whether that includes farmer declarations or some other means of ensuring unapproved hybrids do not end up in shipments to the EU. Some seed companies decided not to offer these hybrids for this year because of the still-pending (but expected) approval. However, some companies already have sold hybrids with the trait stacks for the 2020 growing season.

Grain Farmers of Ontario CEO Crosby Devitt says that growers were alerted late last week to the issue. Currently, about 13 per cent of Ontario corn is destined for export markets, with the EU as the primary importer. It’s a market that has increased in importance over the last few years, he says, as the province has exported between 400,000 and 1.2 million metric tonnes of corn annually to the EU over the past three years.

Devitt says that at this time, farmers should be sure to check in with their corn buyer, as some buyers may not accept deliveries of corn grown from the hybrids at issue.

Trecepta is being marketed under the Dekalb brand. Other companies are selling Qrome (under the Brevant and Pioneer brands).

Corteva Agriscience says that Qrome products were launched in limited quantities in Canada for the 2020 growing season in accordance with the company’s launch policies. In line with these guidelines, the product launch process for responsible launches of new products includes a long-standing process to evaluate export market information, value chain consultations, and regulatory functionality, the company says.

Grain from the Qrome stack and the individual traits within the stack are approved in many U.S. and Canadian corn export markets, including Australia/New Zealand, China, Colombia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, South Africa, and Taiwan, the company says. Corteva says it continues to pursue regulatory approvals for Qrome in other export markets, including pursuing approval of the Qrome stack in the EU.

If you are unsure as to the status of the corn hybrid you are growing, please contact the grain company you plan to deliver to, or check the corn hybrid database, here.

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