China Trait Windfall

China Approves Five Crop Traits, Including Enlist E3 Soybeans

Emily Unglesbee
By  Emily Unglesbee , DTN Staff Reporter
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Enlist E3 soybeans are cleared for commercialization in 2019, after China announced its import approval of that trait, along with four others biotech crop traits. (Submitted photo)

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) -- China announced it will approve the import of five corn and soybean biotech traits, some of which have waited many years to be fully commercialized.

The approved traits are:

-- Enlist E3 soybeans (DAS-44406-6): Tolerance to glyphosate, 2,4-D choline and glufosinate herbicides, owned by Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDuPont.

-- Qrome corn (DP4114): Tolerance to glufosinate herbicides, along with a new molecular stack of current Bt proteins targeting both above and belowground insects, owned by Corteva.

-- MGI soybeans: Tolerance to mesotrione, glufosinate and isoxaflutole herbicides, developed by Syngenta and Bayer.

-- RF3 canola: Tolerance to glufosinate, along with a pollination control system, owned by BASF.

-- MON 88302 canola: Tolerance to glyphosate, owned by Bayer.

The approvals mark the end of a 1.5-year lag in any Chinese crop trait approvals. "We are pleased with this and look forward to receiving the official safety certificates," said Gregg Schmidt, a spokesperson for Corteva, which owns Qrome and Enlist E3 technology.

THE SOYBEAN TRAIT SURGE

The commercialization of Enlist E3 soybeans will add complexity to an already crowded 2019 soybean landscape. Although commercial availability of the trait isn't fully known yet, it will join the following products available for the spring planting season:

-- Roundup Ready 1 and 2 soybeans, which tolerate glyphosate.

-- RR2 Xtend soybeans, which tolerate glyphosate and dicamba.

-- Liberty Link soybeans, which tolerate glufosinate.

-- LL-GT27 soybeans, which tolerate glyphosate, glufosinate and ALITE 27, a new HPPD/Group 27 herbicide not yet approved for use.

The approval of Enlist E3 soybeans completes the full commercialization of Enlist technology, which also includes cotton and corn traits. The technology was developed by Dow AgroSciences and MS Technologies and now falls under Corteva's ownership. The trait will also be licensed to other seed companies.

In 2018, Enlist cotton reached 1.5 million acres in the Cotton Belt, and Enlist cornfields could be found in Iowa, Kansas and southern Minnesota. Some farmers did plant Enlist E3 soybean acres in 2018, either for seed production or in a closed-loop system in a marketing agreement with Archers Daniel Midland (ADM), Mike Dillon, global soybean portfolio lead for Corteva, told DTN this fall.

At the time, Dillon said that upon Chinese import approval, the company was prepared to make Enlist E3 soybean varieties available in large geographic swath, from North Dakota down to Mississippi and the Atlantic out to the Rocky Mountains, in maturity groups 0 to 5.8.

QROME

Qrome corn hybrids contain four Bt traits, two for aboveground insects and two for belowground insects, as well as tolerance to glufosinate herbicides.

Of the Bt traits, Cry1Ab and Cry1F target the corn borer and other aboveground insects, and Cry34Ab1/Cry35Ab1 and mCry3A target the western corn rootworm.

None of these Bt traits are new to the marketplace, but Corteva says the product contains a new molecular stack of some of these older proteins. Qrome corn hybrids were available to growers through a limited introductory program in 2018.

Emily Unglesbee can be reached at Emily.unglesbee@dtn.com

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Emily Unglesbee