The company behind Enlist corn and soybeans and Enlist Duo herbicide expects business as usual for the products in Canada, while the herbicide runs up against a new regulatory hurdle in the U.S.
According to the Reuters news service, the U.S. federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed a request late Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in California to vacate Enlist Duo’s regulatory approvals while the agency re-examines the Dow AgroSciences product.
U.S. regulators approved Enlist Duo for sale and use in several states in October 2014, while Canadian regulators approved the product in May 2013, a year after Enlist corn and soybeans got Canadian approval.
Enlist Duo combines glyphosate and 2,4-D herbicides, a pairing Enlist corn and soybeans are genetically modified to tolerate. The choline salt form of 2,4-D used in Enlist Duo, billed as less prone to drift and volatilization than other forms of 2,4-D, wasn’t previously registered for any U.S. herbicide use.
Reuters, quoting the EPA’s court filing, said the agency had learned Dow AgroSciences was claiming Enlist Duo’s two active ingredients work better together.
EPA said its study of Enlist Duo had assumed the 2,4-D and glyphosate components didn’t have such “synergistic effects.”
“The information suggests that EPA’s analysis may have understated the phytotoxicity of the product,” Reuters quoted the EPA as saying.
Late Wednesday, Dow Agro said it’s “working quickly with EPA to provide assurances that our product’s conditions of registered use will continue to protect the environment, including threatened and endangered plant species.”
“We believe the questions that have been raised about any potential synergy between 2,4-D choline and glyphosate can be promptly resolved in the next few months, in time for the 2016 crop use season,” Dow Agro CEO Tim Hassinger said Wednesday in a release.
Some changes could possibly be made to the use conditions on the existing Enlist Duo label, he said, but “based on the ongoing dialogue with EPA, we do not expect these issues to result in the long-term cancellation of the Enlist Duo product registration.”
Enlist Duo, Dow Agro said Wednesday, “continues to be available in Canada for its registered uses” and the Enlist traits in corn and soybeans are still “fully approved for cultivation in Canada.”
Apart from its uses on Enlist crops, Enlist Duo is also registered in Canada for pre-seeding and pre-emergent use on spring, winter and durum wheat, barley, rye and field corn acres.
Dow had already kept Enlist corn and soybeans from full Canadian commercial release until the traits were approved in the U.S., “out of respect for movement of grain between the two countries.”
From an export marketing standpoint, the company reasoned at the time, if Enlist crops had been released in Canada before U.S. approvals were obtained, Canadian growers could have been left unable to ship their Enlist corn south.
That said, the bulk of Canadian corn is consumed domestically anyway, either by livestock or in ethanol production.
In any case, Hassinger said Wednesday, the EPA now has all of Dow’s data on the observed “potential synergies” between 2,4-D choline and glyphosate in Enlist Duo.
“From these data, EPA will readily see — after evaluating all of the efficacy data on the final formulation — why this data supports the registration of Enlist Duo.” — AGCanada.com Network