The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have authorized registration and regulation of SmartStax technology, a collaboration between Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences resulting from the cross-licensing agreement the companies signed in 2007. Dow AgroSciences' President and CEO Jerome Peribere says the approval paves the way for a launch of the stacked-trait technology in 2010. As part of the announcement, EPA and CFIA have reduced the refuge required in corn from 20% to 5% and in cotton from 50% to 20% for both above and below ground pests.
"Registration by the EPA marks a very truly historic day for farmers," Peribere said. "SmartStax corn will offer farmers the most advanced, all-in-one corn trait system for insect and weed control resulting in a yield enhancement potential over the current market leading triple stack products."
Dow and Monsanto are also working with regulatory agencies in several key export countries to have import approval for SmartStax in place prior to the 2010 season.
"SmartStax is the first ever eight gene corn stack, it is truly not only innovative but a revolutionary corn product for farmers," said Monsanto Vice President of U.S. Product Management Phil Miller. "SmartStax is a game-changing technology bringing increased corn yields of 5-10%, also bringing the broadest spectrum of above and below ground pest control available in the market today providing the farmer with greater peace of mind."
Miller also said that the reduction in refuge requirements represent an enormous savings for farmers without compromising or sacrificing the long-term durability of these critical technologies.
During a press call with the media, the question was asked why farmers who did not have significant below ground pest pressure pay for something they didn't need.
"As we approach this in the market, what we'll do is offer the SmartStax technology broadleaf in all geographies and then we will plan on pricing these products to the value they bring in that specific geography," Miller said. "Our goal on all of our products including the traits in SmartStax is to price the product accurately and reflect the value to growers and how they realize that value in that particular geography."
According to Tom Wiltrout, Dow AgroSciences' global seeds, traits and oils strategy leader, the goal is to have seed in almost all maturities for next year's launch ranging from 80-day to 115-day corn in the U.S, and it will be offered in Mycogen and affiliate brands including Triumph, Dairyland, Renzie, BroadBeck, and Pfister.
"For Monsanto we'll be launching this under Genuity SmartStax, which Genuity is the family of traits we'll be bringing to the market," Miller said. "We will have this offered in the Monsanto national brands such as DEKALB as well as our ASI company brands that are in the markets, and we've made this broad offering to greater than 200 licensees of our technologies and many have accepted and signed up to have access to this product."