EU approves three corn biotech varieties

Leading the nation in crop biotechnology usage, South Dakota corn producers are encouraged today by the European Union’s approval of three genetically modified corn varieties, expanding markets for biotech crops and dried distillers grains. The South Dakota Corn Utilization Council (SDCUC) supports the long-awaited approvals.

The EU granted 10-year authorizations for the use of two Dow-DuPont corn varieties and a Monsanto corn type in food and animal feed.

Dow-DuPont's 1507 X NK603 is resistant to the European corn borer and Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide; the other Dow-DuPont product is Herculex rootworm 59122, which is resistant to root worm. The Monsanto corn, NK603 x MON810, is resistant to corn borer and Roundup.

“Finally, the EU is recognizing the science and safety of biotech-enhanced crops and their approval of these corn varieties will bolster corn exports and will be of particular importance to the distillers grains export markets,” said Jerry Rubendall, president of the SDCUC. “There is more work to be done in streamlining this process where science-based decisions prevail over uninformed opposition.”

Harvest is now underway and South Dakota producers planted over 86 percent of their acres to biotech crops, the largest percentage in the nation. As early and fast adapters of this technology, South Dakota farmers have long understood the safety and sustainability of biotechnology.

The EU is the sixth largest corn importer from the U.S. and utilizes nearly 2 billion bushels of corn annually.

“The EU is a potential growth market for the United States and with more and more corn being planted to biotechnology varieties to reduce the amount of herbicides, pesticides and tillage required, it’s important to clear hurdles preventing trading, when all other safety and approval requirements have been proven,” said Rubendall.

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