Last week Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences announced a cross-license agreement that allows each access to new corn trait technology. For Monsanto the agreement means that it has a license to the Enlist herbicide-tolerant trait effective immediately, including the ability to have it in the next generation of SmartStax in the future.
"This means more brands in the market will be offering the Enlist trait," says Ben Kaehler, U.S. seeds general manager, Dow AgroSciences. "In addition, we're taking a license on a new corn rootworm trait that will be available later this decade."
Kaehler told Farm Futures that the new corn rootworm trait would eventually enhance the below-ground package farmers can get with SmartStax bringing a new mode of action to play. The Monsanto trait - still in development - does not rely on "cry" proteins to do the job; it uses a totally different mode of action.
With all this trait news it's sometimes difficult to put it in perspective, but Kaehler helps. "I would position this announcement for today, tomorrow and for the future," he says.
For today, farmers have SmartStax which is available from a lot of different seed brands and offers producers options in the corn market.
For tomorrow, he says, there will be SmartStax with Enlist, assuming that appropriate regulatory approvals can be achieved. That package will be available in 2014 from Dow AgroSciences brands, pending approval.
For the future, Kaehler explains that the new next generation corn rootworm technology along with Enlist can be rolled into SmartStax technology as a single package.
Dow AgroSciences expects the first sale of Enlist corn later in 2013 for planting in the 2014 crop year. Soybeans and cotton will follow, pending separate regulatory approvals. "We're continuing to work with the regulatory agencies. We have the technology that growers demand and look forward to having for their farms," Kaehler says. "There's tremendous interest by growers and it’s frustrating [to them] that we can't bring it to market sooner."