DowDuPont farm unit plans to launch Enlist E3 soy broadly in 2020

CHICAGO (Reuters) – DowDuPont’s agriculture unit, Corteva Agriscience, is gearing up to broadly sell farmers in North America and Brazil a new type of genetically modified soybean for planting next year in a challenge to rival Bayer AG .

Corteva revealed its plans for Enlist E3 soy seeds on Thursday, after top global soy buyer China said last week it approved the crops for import.

For years, DowDuPont postponed launching Enlist E3 seeds while waiting for the nod from Beijing. China bought about 60 percent of U.S. soy exports, worth about $12 billion per year, prior to the ongoing U.S.-China trade war and could reject shipments of unapproved varieties.

Corteva is now waiting for the Philippines, an importer of soybean meal, to approve Enlist E3 soy before the company launches the product broadly. Regional teams at Corteva are also still assessing supply availability and other factors, said Mike Dillon, global portfolio manager.

“We’re closely monitoring the regulatory status around the world and if things continue to develop, our goal is to get the product into our customers hands as soon as possible,” Dillon said in an interview.

Corteva said Enlist E3 soybeans, which can resist three herbicides, will be offered in Brazil, Canada and the United States. Some commercial sales will begin in 2019, but timing will vary by country, according to a statement.

“The current plan is being worked on by the regions and what that exact timing will be hasn’t been completely resolved yet,” Dillon said. “When we do decide to launch, we can be in the market in a material and significant way.”

The company said it plans to ramp up seed production to ensure the soybeans will be “broadly available” to farmers in 2020.

Corteva also announced plans to expand the launch of its Qrome corn seeds across the U.S. Corn Belt.

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