Monsanto has obtained U.S. regulatory clearance for its next generation cotton technology, Roundup Ready Flex cotton. The announcement represents an important step forward towards the anticipated commercial launch for the 2006 growing season. Regulatory clearances in other key production and export countries are anticipated later this year.
"These clearances by USDA and FDA underscore the food, feed and environmental safety of this and other plant biotechnology products which have delivered tremendous value to growers and the environment over the last ten years," says Robb Fraley, chief technology officer of Monsanto.
Roundup Ready Flex cotton will provide a wider over-the-top application window for Roundup agricultural herbicides throughout the growing season, providing growers with increased flexibility and convenience on the farm.
"Since the introduction of Roundup Ready cotton in 1997, growers have told us that they would like greater flexibility in making herbicide applications. Roundup Ready Flex cotton was developed to provide growers with greater flexibility throughout the season. It will also facilitate the continued adoption and management of reduced-tillage practices, and will help growers be less dependent on selective spray equipment." Fraley says.
No restrictions on domestic planting or food and feed use of Roundup Ready Flex cottonseed exist now that the USDA and FDA have completed their review processes. Yet, Monsanto says it remains committed to its stewardship program for key export markets until regulatory clearance is granted in those markets.
It is anticipated that once all remaining regulatory approvals in key export markets are completed, Roundup Ready Flex cotton will be offered in time for the 2006 growing season as a single trait product and in combination with other traits such as Bollgard II.