Two more key regulatory milestones have been reached for the 2010 commercial launch of SmartStax, the corn industry’s eagerly anticipated seed trait combination. U.S. and Canadian corn farmers are now two steps closer to being able to plant the most comprehensive insect and weed control product in the industry, allowing them to significantly reduce their refuge acres. Monsanto Co. and Dow AgroSciences LLC have received import regulatory approvals from Korea and Taiwan for corn grain produced from SmartStax.
The food and feed safety of SmartStax corn was reviewed and approved by the Korean and Taiwan agencies charged with regulating biotech traits. These two additional approvals follow U.S., Canadian, and Japanese regulatory approvals announced by the companies in July 2009. With these approvals, SmartStax cultivation in the United States and Canada has taken a major step forward. Grain produced from SmartStax corn can now be imported to Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand among other countries.
“These are significant milestones as we ramp up for 2010 launch of SmartStax,” says Brad Shurdut, global biotech regulatory and government affairs leader for Dow AgroSciences. “Korea and Taiwan are significant importers of U.S. corn and these approvals pave the way for U.S. and Canadian growers to benefit from the most advanced, all in one corn trait platform.”
“SmartStax is a valuable tool in a farmer’s risk management strategy,” says Jerry Hjelle, Monsanto vice president of regulatory affairs. “Its multiple modes of action against insect pressure means farmers can significantly lower their pesticide usage, and the reduced refuge for above and below-ground pests for SmartStax increases whole farm yield potential.”
SmartStax is the result of best-in-class trait integration that combines each company’s industry-leading corn traits to provide growers the broadest spectrum of above- and below-ground protection against pests and weeds versus any competitor in the market today. The multiple modes of action in SmartStax are the only proven means to reduce structured refuge and maintain long-term durability of corn trait technologies. U.S. and Canadian corn farmers who plant SmartStax will be able to substantially reduce the structured refuge from the typical 20 percent to 5 percent in Canada and the U.S. Corn Belt and from 50 percent to 20 percent in U.S. cotton growing areas.
By combining a comprehensive approach for insect and weed control with reduced above- and below-ground structured refuge, farmers who adopt SmartStax will have the opportunity to increase whole-farm corn yields.
SmartStax is the outcome of a cross-licensing agreement and research and development collaboration signed in 2007 between Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences. Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences plan to launch SmartStax on 4-plus million acres in 2010. Monsanto will bring the corn product to market as Genuity SmartStax. Dow AgroSciences plans to offer SmartStax through its seed brands which include Mycogen, Dairyland, Renze, Brodbeck, Triumph, and Pfister.