Many farmers were looking forward to having new weed control technologies available in 2014. But USDA pushed that timetable back at least a year when it required the preparation of an environmental impact statement or EIS for the introduction of the traits for dicamba and 2,4-D-tolerant crops. Monsanto’s Robb Fraley discussed the situation in an interview with Farm Progress Editorial Director Willie Vogt and Penton Agricultural Group Content Director Forrest Laws at the Farm Progress Show.
Fraley, who will be honored with the World Food Prize for his work on biotechnology later this year, said Monsanto had hoped to launch its dicamba-tolerant or Roundup Ready 2 Extend trait in corn and soybeans in 2014. The decision means the earliest the traits could be available is 2015. Both the Roundup Ready 2 Extend and Dow AgroScience’s 2,4-D or Enlist technology were expected to help farmers controls weeds that have become resistant to glyphosate herbicides.
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In the past, U.S. producers could expect approval for new traits in about 24 months. That was when the U.S. had what Fraley refers to as the “gold standard” of biotechnology approval processes. That approval timeframe has now widened to about three years, leaving farmers with more uncertainty about when to expect help with weed control problems.
In contrast, Brazil and Argentina have been streamlining their procedures so that they now issue approvals in about 24 months. That means Monsanto may actually launch Roundup Ready 2 Extend in Argentina at the same time or before it introduces the technology in the United States, says Fraley.
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