U.S. likely to approve 2,4-D tolerant corn, soybeans

Enlist system The USDA is recommending the genetics be released after completing an extended environmental evaluation

New 2,4-D, glufosinate and gly-phosate tolerant genetic traits developed by Dow, Bayer and Monsanto have taken a step closer to U.S. government approval.

Already approved in Canada for soybeans, the Enlist system puts tolerance to 2,4-D, Liberty and Roundup in the same plants.

The first uses for the technology will be available in soybeans and corn with other crops expected to follow.

The system is designed to provide multiple modes of weed and voluntary crop control, reducing the likelihood that weed resistance will de-velop.

Crops tolerant to the three herbicides remain susceptible to other herbicides, which would provide control options for Enlist volunteer plants.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently indicated that it is leaning toward approving the Enlist system and is recommending that the genetics be released.

Dow had hoped to release the product for last season, but controversy erupted over the system’s environmental safety.

As a result, the USDA extended the evaluation period for the product last May.

In its decision announced Jan. 3, the USDA said it had completed a draft environmental impact statement for Enlist corn and two types of Enlist soybeans and said its “preferred” option was approval of all three.

The department noted in its statement that its regulatory authority is limited and it primarily evaluates the risks that a new biotech crop presents to other crops or plants.

The draft statement is available for public review, and the USDA said it will hold a “virtual public meeting” to receive feedback from the public before it makes a final regulatory decision.

The USDA’s review comes at the same time that the Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing the safety of Dow’s Enlist 2,4-D herbicide. The EPA is expected to issue its proposed regulatory decision in the next few months.

As well, Monsanto, in conjunction with BASF, is seeking regulatory approval for its new soybean and cotton, which resist a new dicamba-based herbicide.

Soybeans are approved for the Banvel 2 product in Eastern Canada, but delays in the United States and China are slowing commercialization.

Approval from Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency is also pending for that chemical’s use in soybeans.

Dicamba resistant canola is also being developed in Canada.

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