INDIANAPOLIS and ST. LOUIS, July 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- U.S. and Canadian farmers are one step closer to realizing the greater whole farm corn yield advantages of a new corn seed trait combination that will provide the most comprehensive insect and weed control and allow farmers to significantly reduce their refuge. These benefits will be realized through SmartStax(TM), which is the outcome of a cross licensing agreement and research and development collaboration signed in 2007 between Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) and Dow AgroSciences LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: DOW).
SmartStax, the agriculture industry's most advanced, all-in-one corn trait platform, received registration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and regulatory authorization from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and remains on track for a 2010 commercial launch. SmartStax combines each company's industry-leading corn traits to provide farmers the absolute broadest spectrum of above- and below-ground protection available against insects and weeds versus any product in the market today.
Using multiple modes of action for insect control is the state-of-the-art proven means to reduce structured refuge and maintain long-term durability of corn trait technologies. SmartStax uniquely features a combination of insect control traits that significantly reduces the risk of resistance for both above- and below-ground pests. As a result, the decisions by the EPA and CFIA will allow reduction of the typical structured farm refuge from 20 percent to 5 percent for SmartStax in the U.S. Corn Belt and Canada, and from 50 percent to 20 percent in the U.S. Cotton Belt.
As part of today's announcement, the companies noted that the new corn seed technology is expected to be offered to farmers on 3 million- to 4-million-plus acres in its first year of availability. The product's launch would represent the largest introduction of a corn biotech seed product in the history of agriculture.
"Farmers are the real winners with SmartStax," said Robb Fraley, Monsanto Chief Technology Officer and Executive Vice President. "The 5 percent refuge for SmartStax will give farmers a tremendous advantage to increase whole farm corn yield 5 to 10 percent. This is a key early step in our commitment to helping farmers sustainably double yields by 2030 to meet the increasing demands for grain for food, feed and fuel. This reduced refuge will be easier for farmers and will further reduce insecticide use while reducing grower risks and enhancing the long-term durability of the technology."
"The SmartStax technology developed by Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto will help U.S. and Canadian corn farmers take corn production to the next level," said Jerome Peribere, Dow AgroSciences President and CEO. "By combining the industry's leading seed traits, SmartStax protects against the broadest spectrum of insect pests with the most consistent level of control available. The multiple modes of action of SmartStax reduce the likelihood of insect resistance, making possible a significant reduction in the refuge requirement. Corn farmers who plant hybrids with SmartStax will benefit from increased productivity due to improved pest protection and a reduced refuge."
"One of the great benefits of biotechnology is that it has enabled my son and me to reduce the use of insecticides on our farm by 80 percent," said Leon Corzine, a farmer who operates a fifth-generation corn and soybean farm with his son in Assumption, Ill. "SmartStax corn will allow us to reduce our insecticide use even further to 5 percent of our corn acres, while improving insect control and our environmental footprint will be lowered. Additionally, the lower refuge in the Corn Belt for SmartStax means I can better protect 15 percent more of my acres from potential yield loss."
SmartStax combines the industry's leading above- and below-ground insect protection and herbicide-tolerant traits for the most yield protection available to farmers:
Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences will cross-license, under royalty-bearing agreements, their respective above- and below-ground insect protection systems, as well as the two leading weed control systems. Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences will offer other seed companies access to SmartStax through licenses whereby Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences will directly license their respective component technologies. Monsanto will manage the licensing process for itself and as an agent for Dow AgroSciences.
Consistent with both companies' commitment to follow the Biotechnology Industry Organization's (BIO) Product Launch Stewardship Policy, Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto are also working with the regulatory agencies in key countries to have import approvals for SmartStax in place prior to the 2010 U.S. season. These regulatory submissions are on track to support commercialization for the 2010 U.S. crop season.
Dow AgroSciences Commercial Plans
Two years of pre-registration field trials conducted by Dow AgroSciences shows that SmartStax provides a greater level of insect protection than corn traits currently on the market. In corn rootworm trials during 2007 and 2008, SmartStax more consistently protected plant roots from western corn rootworm than first generation insect traits. Results of trials conducted by Dow AgroSciences against the most prevalent above-ground pests show that SmartStax prevents crop damage more effectively than either HERCULEX((R) )Insect Protection or YieldGard VT PRO alone.
"SmartStax has been highly anticipated by the industry, and extensive Dow AgroSciences research gives us confidence that the trait combination will provide more value than current traits on the market through more consistent insect control and reduced refuge," said Brent Stauffacher, SmartStax Product Manager for Dow AgroSciences. "Dow AgroSciences will offer SmartStax in elite hybrids with the latest genetics starting next season giving corn growers the tools they need to improve crop yields."
SmartStax will be sold by Dow AgroSciences through its seed brands which include Mycogen Seeds, Dairyland, Renze, Brodbeck, and Triumph.
Dow AgroSciences will use SmartStax as the platform to launch future trait technologies including Dow AgroSciences Herbicide Tolerant Trait technology and other agronomic enhancements. The technology is a new family of traits being developed by Dow AgroSciences that will provide tolerance to 2,4-D and other classes of herbicides to provide growers with improved and enhanced weed control versus current herbicide programs. Introduction to the market is anticipated for 2012.
"Game changing trait technologies, such as SmartStax and Dow AgroSciences Herbicide Tolerant technology, coupled with a significant investment in plant breeding will deliver to corn growers the best trait technology in the latest genetics," said Brian Barker, Global Business Leader for Corn Seeds and Traits for Dow AgroSciences.
Monsanto Company is a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity and food quality. Monsanto remains focused on enabling both small-holder and large- scale farmers to produce more from their land while conserving more of our world's natural resources such as water and energy. To learn more about our business and our commitments, please visit: http://www.monsanto.com.
About Dow AgroSciences
Dow AgroSciences LLC, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, is a top-tier agricultural company that combines the power of science and technology with the "Human Element" to constantly improve what is essential to human progress. Dow AgroSciences provides innovative technologies for crop protection, pest and vegetation management, seeds, traits, and agricultural biotechnology to serve the world's growing population. Global sales for Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company, are $4.5 billion. Learn more at www.dowagro.com.
SmartStax(TM) multi-event technology developed by Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto.
SmartStax, the SmartStax Logo, Genuity VT PRO, YieldGard VT Rootworm/RR2, VT PRO, Acceleron and Roundup Ready are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC. DEKALB is a registered trademark of Dekalb Genetics Corp.
HERCULEX((R)) Insect Protection technology by Dow AgroSciences and Pioneer Hi-Bred. ((R))HERCULEX is a registered trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC.
((R))Liberty Link is a registered trademark of Bayer CropScience.
Certain statements contained in this press release are forward-looking statements, such as statements concerning the companies' future product performance, regulatory approvals, business and financial plans and other non-historical facts. These statements are based on current expectations and currently available information. However, since these statements are based on factors that involve risks and uncertainties, the companies' actual performance and results may differ materially from those described or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, among others: the success of the companies' research and development activities; the costs of and the companies' abilities to access and enforce intellectual property needed for the collaboration; the costs and requirements of regulatory compliance and the speed with which approvals are received; public acceptance of biotechnology products; and other risks and factors detailed in the companies' most recent periodic report to the SEC. Undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements, which are current only as of the date of this presentation. The companies disclaim any current intention or obligation to update any forward-looking statements or any of the factors that may affect actual results.
|SOURCE The Dow Chemical Company|
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