Dow plans launch of GM soy seed

CHICAGO (Reuters) — Dow AgroSciences will launch under tight controls in the United States a genetically modified soybean seed that is not approved by major im-porters.

To avoid accidently getting the new soybean into the export pipeline to China and Europe, where the product is not yet approved, all production will be handled by Archer Daniels Midland Co. ADM will have controls on the location and timing of deliveries and all product will go to North American end users.

The arrangement shows the lengths that Dow is taking to get its Enlist E3 soybean seeds to market as it faces increasing competition for U.S. sales from Monsanto Inc. Enlist E3 soybeans are tolerant to applications of 2,4-D choline, glyphosate and glufosinate.

The company is still waiting on approvals of E3 soybeans submitted in Europe in 2012 and in China in 2013.

“You cannot predict when you will see the approvals,” said Joe Vertin, global leader for the Enlist brand.

Getting new GM seeds to market quickly is important for seed companies because it can take up to 10 years and $150 million to develop products.

Because various varieties are usually mixed together in the handling system, the lack of approval for one GM variety can put at risk of rejection large shipments that include approved GM grains. That is what happened in 2013 when China rejected boatloads of corn because they contained a GM trait not approved for import.

Jim Sutter, head of the U.S. Soybean Export Council, said it would be catastrophic if unapproved seed got into shipments to the huge Chinese market, but he was confident Dow and ADM can keep E3 soybeans separate.

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