A key regulatory milestone has been reached for the 2010 commercial launch of SmartStax, the corn industry's eagerly anticipated seed trait combination that will provide U.S. and Canadian corn farmers the most comprehensive weed and insect control and allow them to significantly reduce their structured refuge requirement. Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) and Dow AgroSciences LLC (NYSE: DOW), a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company, announced today that they have received full Japanese regulatory approval for importation of grain produced from SmartStax™.
The food, feed and environmental safety of SmartStax corn were each reviewed and approved by the government agencies in Japan. These approvals follow U.S and Canadian regulatory approvals announced by the companies on July 20. With these approvals, SmartStax can be produced and planted in the United States and Canada and grain can be imported to Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
"The breakthrough of SmartStax is the field performance achieved by combining these already established and globally approved traits," said Jerry Hjelle, Monsanto Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. "Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences teams are working closely to obtain the few remaining import approvals ahead of the 2010 launch.
"As the world's leading corn importing country, Japanese approval is a significant milestone to ensure full market access to food and feed derived from SmartStax that will help U.S. and Canadian corn farmers to experience the benefits of the agriculture industry's most advanced, all-in -one corn trait platform," Hjelle added. "Farmers who plant SmartStax will be better able to meet the growing global demand for grain through the increased whole-farm corn yield advantage SmartStax provides."
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Foreign Agriculture Service, Japan imports represent 20% of the world's corn exports for the 2009 marketing year, or 640 million bushels.
"These timely Japanese approvals are important; Japan is a valued importer of U.S. and Canadian corn, and SmartStax adds to our effort to provide a sustainable supply of high-quality corn to the Japanese market," said Brad Shurdut, Global Biotech Regulatory and Government Affairs Leader for Dow AgroSciences. "SmartStax, developed by Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto, provides potential increases in corn yield and supply and will help support the increased consumption and utilization of corn around the world in the 2010 U.S. season."
Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto are members of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and its affiliate Excellence Through Stewardship (ETS). SmartStax will be commercialized consistent with the BIO Product Launch Stewardship Policy after meeting applicable regulatory requirements in key export markets with functioning agricultural biotechnology regulatory systems.
SmartStax is the result of best-in-class trait integration that combines each company's industry-leading corn traits to provide growers the broadest spectrum of above- and below-ground protection against pests and weeds versus any competitor in the market today. The multiple modes of action in SmartStax are the only proven means to reduce structured refuge and maintain long-term durability of corn trait technologies. U.S. and Canadian corn farmers who plant SmartStax will be able to substantially reduce the typical structured refuge from 20% to 5% in Canada and the Corn Belt and from 50% to 20% in the U.S. Cotton Belt.
By combining a comprehensive approach for insect and weed control with reduced above- and below-ground structured refuge, farmers who adopt SmartStax will have the opportunity to increase whole-farm corn yields 5 to 10%.
SmartStax is the outcome of a cross-licensing agreement and research and development collaboration signed in 2007 between Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences. Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences plan to launch SmartStax on 3 to 4 million-plus acres in 2010. Monsanto will bring the corn product to market as Genuity SmartStax. Dow AgroSciences plans to offer SmartStax through its seed brands which include Mycogen, Dairyland, Renze, Brodbeck, and Triumph.