Editor's Note: This article was updated on Oct. 13 with additional comments from an ADM representative. The original article was posted on Oct. 11.
DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- Farmers hungry for new postemergence soybean herbicide technology will have another trait system to consider for 2018. Dow AgroSciences has announced it will do a stewarded introduction of Enlist E3 soybeans in collaboration with grain processor ADM.
The Enlist E3 trait package allows soybeans to withstand in-season applications of 2,4-D choline, glyphosate and glufosinate. The special grain handling arrangement with ADM is aimed at keeping all resulting soybeans targeted to domestic use and out of export streams. The E3 package does not yet have import approvals from China and the European Union.
Previously, Dow AgroSciences has waited until all import approvals were in place before going to market with a new trait. This collaboration represents something of a departure for the seed and chemical company that has recently merged with DuPont.
It also represents something of a shift for ADM since the company was one of the grain firms that sued Syngenta when Chinese shipments of grain tested positive for the MIR162 trait, known as Viptera. At the time, the trait did not have import approvals in that country. China has since approved the trait. ADM also balked in 2016 when Monsanto sold Xtend soybean varieties before European Union (EU) approvals were granted.
The Dow/ADM agreement represents a strategic plan being implemented prior to planting, according to ADM spokesperson Jackie Anderson. "ADM is fully supportive of biotechnology and of technology providers who want to responsibly launch new technologies in compliance with applicable laws," Anderson said in email correspondence with DTN. "We believe that all members of the value chain have a role to play in enabling continued innovation in agriculture, and that this program offers a blueprint for how industry participants can work together to ensure that farmers have the best technologies available."
John Chase, commercial lead for Dow AgroSciences' Enlist Weed Control System, said the project is a Dow AgroSciences-initiated project that has long been in development. He noted the company did have a limited acreage program for the past few years that allowed farmers to trial Enlist corn under stewardship agreements.
Chase said the driver is the need for farmers to access new weed control technologies. "We feel strongly that when advanced solutions are available and fully approved in the United States, they should reach farmers as quickly as possible," he said. Enlist soybeans have full approvals for cultivation in the U.S. Enlist Duo and Enlist One herbicides also have approvals from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in the trait system.
"Those import approvals are very important to us and the efforts continue to obtain them," Chase said. A news release announcing the ADM program showed industry support for the effort.
"The American Soybean Association (ASA) appreciates the tight, closed-loop production and processing system that has been developed," said ASA President Ron Moore, a farmer from Roseville, Illinois. "This will allow a number of farmers to experience the Enlist weed control system and is designed to keep all production out of export channels. We also appreciate Dow AgroSciences' continued efforts to seek import approvals in China and the EU."
Enlist cotton was commercialized in 2017 and Enlist corn, which now has the necessary import approvals, will see commercial plantings in 2018. Enlist E3 was developed with MS Technologies and is a three-way molecular herbicide stack created by one genetic insertion. It differs from another Enlist soybean system that has the same herbicide tolerances, but was created by breeding in the Roundup Ready 2 (glyphosate-tolerance) event. Only Enlist E3 beans are involved in the marketing arrangement with ADM.
Chase described the arrangement with ADM as a comprehensive closed-loop system. Four ADM processing plants will handle the resulting production of the planted production: Mankato, Minnesota; Frankfurt, Indiana; Mexico, Missouri and Deerfield, Missouri.
While Chase did not want to estimate possible production figures in an interview with DTN, he said the geography of the Enlist E3 soybeans would not be restricted to the area around those four processing plants. "We are limiting the number of acres, but not where the soybeans will be raised. Production will be substantial enough to have a commercial experience," he said.
Chase added that growers who raise the Enlist E3 soybeans would need to apply for the opportunity and will be carefully vetted over the next several months. They also will need to guarantee 300 acres of production, on-farm storage and an ability to follow stewardship protocols. There will be third party auditors monitoring proper cleanout procedures and other aspects of the program, Chase noted. "There will be considerable resources put to tracking this product between the farm and the processing site," he said.
ADM's Anderson indicated that each approved location would have specific delivery windows. "Any soybeans delivered to those locations during those timeframes, along with products derived from them, will be marketed to North American customers only. We will coordinate with participating farmers to deliver the soybeans during this time. There are detailed protocols to ensure a closed-loop system in which Enlist E3 beans are delivered only to the designated processing facilities during the proper timeframes," she said.
Variety offerings for 2018 will be in the heritage Dow AgroSciences' brands, which include Mycogen, Broadbeck, Pfister, Dairyland and Prairie Brand.
Details of the program will be made available through participating seed companies in fall 2017 for the 2018 planting season. For more information and to find out how to participate in this program, visit Enlist.com.
Pam Smith can be reached at Pam.Smith@dtn.com
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