USDA approves 2,4-D resistant corn and soybean traits

U.S. farmers applaud approval that will help them combat weed resistance problem.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced Sept. 17 the decision to approve new Dow AgroSciences’ herbicide-resistant corn and soybean traits. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still has to make its final regulatory decision on a newer version of the herbicide 2,4-D, called Enlist Duo, before the product line can be marketed, but Dow AgroSciences said approval is expected in the near future. Pending approval, the company plans to market the product in 2015.

The new product line will provide a solution to a growing weed resistance to glysophate, otherwise known as Roundup. Resistant weeds more than doubled since 2009 and affect approximately 70 million acres of American farmland, according to Dow Agrosciences.

“Enlist will help farmers increase their productivity to meet the growing demand for a safe and affordable food supply,” said Tim Hassinger, president, Dow AgroSciences. “We’ve used the latest science and technology to address problem weeds. Enlist will be a very effective solution and we’re pleased to have this technology one step closer to the farmgate.”

U.S. farmers applauded the decision as the problem of weed resistance continues to spread across key U.S. growing regions.

“This solution presents another integral mode of action with which farmers can fight yield-robbing weeds,” said ASA president and Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser. “USDA deserves a great deal of credit for recognizing delays in the biotech approvals process and working to address them.”

“Gaining approval for this important technology has been a long, hard fought battle,” said National Corn Growers Association’s trade policy and biotechnology action team chair Jim Zimmerman, a farmer from Rosendale, Wis. “It is important that farmers continue to gain access to the tools that they need in the field through a science-based, timely regulatory system. We look forward to similar results for other herbicide systems in the future.”

Despite the anticipated U.S. approval, Gaesser implied that there was more work to be done as approval in other countries is just as important.

“Our attention now shifts to final EPA registration of the Enlist Duo herbicide, and to approvals in key soybean export markets,” expressed Gaesser. “For new tools like Enlist Duo to be implemented and realized, we need to have approvals in key U.S. soy export markets since approximately 60% of the U.S. soy crop is exported.”

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