Monsanto to launch first new novel biotech trait in 18 years

Truflex New trait allows double the rate of application than the existing Genuity Roundup Ready canola system

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Monsanto Canada will launch in 2014 what is billed as the first novel biotech trait in canola to be introduced to western Canadian farmers since 1996.

TruFlex Roundup Ready canola trait maximizes yield opportunity through enhanced weed control and increased flexibility, the company says in a release.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada granted full food, feed and environmental safety approval to the new trait in June 2012. Monsanto anticipates offering a commercial preview to farmers in 2014.

TruFlex Roundup Ready canola will serve as the base platform on which all future Monsanto pipeline traits in canola will be stacked, the release says.

“Over the years, we’ve had plenty of opportunity to receive feedback from growers and they have consistently communicated the need to bring yield and agronomics to the next level over older canola trait technologies,” said Jesse Hamonic, canola trait marketing lead with Monsanto Canada based in Winnipeg.

Speaking to farmers and industry stakeholders at a VIP reception in Saskatoon as part of the Crop Production Show, Hamonic said Monsanto’s goal with any new trait introduction is to bring a “step-change” to farmers.

He said he’s confident TruFlex Roundup Ready canola will deliver higher yields through a combination of enhanced weed control that provides more effective and consistent control of both annual weeds and tough-to-control perennials, and through increased flexibility provided by a wider window of application at higher rates under more challenging weather conditions.

“Dandelions, foxtail barley and wild buckwheat are some examples of tough-to-control perennial and annual weeds that will have improved control with the new TruFlex Roundup Ready canola system,” said David Kelner, Monsanto’s canola technical lead for Western Canada. “As well, the increased application rate allows for control of a much wider spectrum of weeds, with the ability to now control new weeds such as yellow foxtail, biennial wormwood and common milkweed.”

Higher rate

The new trait will allow farmers to apply Roundup WeatherMAX in crop at a rate of 1.33 litres/acre for a single application or 0.67 litres/acre for two applications. This is more than double the rate of application with the existing Genuity Roundup Ready canola system.

As well, the window of application extends past the six-leaf stage all the way to the first flower which is 10 to 14 days longer than current commercial technologies.

“We think the increased flexibility provided by the wider window of application is really going to appeal to farmers,” said Hamonic. “Farmers are increasingly pressed for time and TruFlex Roundup Ready canola will give them almost two weeks more time to spray without causing harm to the crop.”

Monsanto Canada is seeking regulatory approvals in six key export markets identified by the Canola Council of Canada’s Market Access Policy. Regulatory approvals are already secured in Canada and food safety approvals have been granted in the U.S.

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