GENET archive


APPROVAL: Monsanto to release new GMO soybeans

                                  PART 1

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AUTHOR: The Associated Press, by Christopher Leonard


DATE:   31.07.2007

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ST. LOUIS - Monsanto Co. is set to release its first new strain of genetically engineered soybeans in more than a decade.

The world’s largest biotech seed producer won regulatory approval for its new strain of Roundup Ready beans in the United States and Canada, the company announced Tuesday.

The new beans - which have the brand name Roundup RReady2Yield - are slated to go on sale in limited U.S. markets in 2009 and begin nationwide distribution in 2010, said Monsanto spokeswoman Sara Duncan.

The beans are similar to Monsanto’s first strain of engineered seeds, in that they are resistant to Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup - but the new line is bred to increase bean yields between 7 and 11 percent, according to the company.

Because the U.S. Soybean market is export-driven, Monsanto does not introduce new strains of engineered seeds in the U.S. until the crops are approved to be imported by key trading partners overseas, Duncan said.

Genetically engineered foods have been the focus of several trade fights as countries have tried to limits their import because of fears over the crops’ safety and environmental impact. Monsanto has applied for import approval for the new beans in the European Union, China, Japan, Mexico and elsewhere, Duncan said, and expects their approval by the time the seeds begin national U.S. distribution.

Monsanto’s Roundup Ready soybeans have been widely adopted by U.S. soybean farmers - accounting for about 91 percent of all soybeans grown domestically, according to the American Soybean Association.

The trade group hailed the approval of the Roundup RReady2Yield soybean because of its promise to generate more soybeans on the same amount of land.

”Higher soybean yields increase the ability of U.S. soybean growers to supply food, feed, and fuel markets domestically and around the globe,” ASA President John Hoffman said in a statement.

While the new beans don’t possess any revolutionary traits, the strain will serve as a platform to introduce new crops that Monsanto is currently developing, like beans with drought resistance and healthier oil content, Duncan said.

Monsanto Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley said the strain will likely be a centerpiece product for years to come.

”We anticipate that farmers who make the investment in Roundup RReady2Yield are getting more than just the benefits of this technology, they’re gaining experience with the building block on which our platform of new soybean technologies will be built,” Fraley said in a statement.

Monsanto’s stock dropped 59 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $64.45, as stocks overall lost ground.

                                  PART 2

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SOURCE: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, USA

AUTHOR: Rachel Melcer


DATE:   01.08.2007

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Monsanto Co. took a leap Tuesday toward the launch of biotech soybeans that promise to help farmers — and the company — extract more green from every acre.

Regulators in the United States and Canada approved the sale of RReady2Yield soybeans, which are genetically modified to withstand glyphosate herbicide that Monsanto sells as Roundup.

Monsanto said RReady2Yield will boost per-acre yield by 7 to 11 percent, or between 3.5 and 5.5 bushels for an Illinois farmer. That translates into an additional $25 to $40 per acre in farm revenue, depending on soybean market prices — income that Monsanto will split by collecting technology fees on the seed.

The Creve Coeur-based company said it will launch RReady2Yield for limited North American acres in 2009, followed the next year by a broad-scale rollout. It isn’t revealing pricing, but Carl Casale, vice president of North American business, talked about overall revenue-sharing strategy in a recent earnings call with analysts.

”Our golden rule is that we price for penetration (and) ensure value with the farmer. In general, we now price for up to one-half of the value created. We believe this … allows us to be rewarded for innovation, but doesn’t dampen the expansion of the use of our technology,” he said.

Monsanto anticipates RReady2Yield will supplant its 11-year-old Roundup Ready soybean technology as a must-have for farmers. This year, Roundup Ready crops comprised 91 percent of the 64.1 million soybean acres planted by U.S. farmers, according to estimates by the Agriculture Department.

Farmers are eager for the change, said John Hoffman, president of the American Soybean Association.

RReady2Yield ”gives us a competitive advantage — it gives us a yield increase,” he said. ”And, let’s face it, right now there are less acres, so we need to grow more soybeans on the acres we plant” to meet demand for biodiesel, animal feed and export.

U.S. soybean acres dropped by 15 percent this year, the USDA said. Many farmers switched to corn to capitalize on the ethanol boom.

RReady2Yield, which offers a new yield-enhancing twist on old glyphosate-tolerance technology, is just the first product in Monsanto’s soybean pipeline. It will be the basis for ”stacked” seeds that feature several more innovative genetic traits, the company said. These include biotech soybeans that produce healthier oil, are fortified with Omega-3 fatty acids, or grow under stress.

”As we proceed and interact with food companies and their suppliers, we’ll get an understanding of just how to build these multi-trait products, which will be of great interest and demand,” said Jerry Hjelle, vice president of regulatory issues.



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