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SmartStax corn, Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans set to hit farms this year

Agriculture.com Staff 04/21/2010 @ 4:57pm

The research and development pipeline at Monsanto Company is pretty crowded these days, company officials say.

In total, there are 11 projects taking major steps toward commercial availability this year, Monsanto officials announced this week. Two of those -- Genuity SmartStax corn and Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans -- will now advance to commercial launch and will be available to farmers later this year, company leaders say.

"We have talked before about being on the verge of a technology explosion, and this is the beginning of it," says Robb Fraley, chief technology officer for Monsanto, in a company report. "This year you will see the first of those game-changing products delivering on the farm. These are just the first wave of innovation. The projects in the early phases of our pipeline today will continue to fuel the next wave of technological breakthroughs and gain momentum in the years to come."

SmartStax was developed in collaboration with Dow AgroSciences and approved in July 2009 with a 5% structured refuge for the Corn Belt, a breakthrough that will help increase yield and reduce pesticide use. Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences completed a full regulatory submission for a 5% refuge-in-a-bag seed blend to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December. This puts SmartStax on commercial track for the industry's only 5% refuge-in-a-bag product, pending EPA approval, Monsanto officials say.

Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences have been researching the concept of combining biotech and refuge seeds in one bag for multiple years. Genuity SmartStax with refuge-in-a-bag would allow farmers in the Corn Belt to plant one corn product across their entire field without the need to plant a separate, potentially lower-yielding refuge. In addition to the convenience, this product would further promote compliance with refuge requirements. Monsanto's refuge-in-a-bag product moved to Phase 4, the final phase before commercialization in this week's update.

Other products advancing in Monsanto's R&D pipeline, officials say, include:

  • Roundup Hybridization System (RHS) for Corn
  • YieldGard Rootworm III
  • YieldGard Corn Borer III
  • Dicamba- & Glufosinate-tolerant Corn
  • FOPS Tolerance for Corn
  • Insect-protected Roundup Ready 2 Yield Soybeans
  • Vistive Gold Soybeans

The research and development pipeline at Monsanto Company is pretty crowded these days, company officials say.

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