With planting season in full swing, the South Dakota Corn Growers Association (SDCGA) strongly cautions South Dakota corn farmers against planting Syngenta’s Agrisure RW MIR 604 technology because it lacks full approvals in most major export markets, including Japan. Japan is the leading U.S. corn export market at 636 million bushels in 2006.
“The SDCGA fully supports the use of biotechnology traits in seed and our producers have the highest acceptance of biotechnology in the nation,” said Chad Blindauer, director on the SDCGA board and member of the National Biotech Working Group. “However, to plant traits that are not approved by our export customers would undermine the progress we have made in building these markets and in addition, producers’ market options at harvest are limited.”
Biotechnology corn traits account for 61 percent of the total U.S. acreage. Farmers who purchased Agrisure RW traits were specifically required to sign a channeling agreement and were informed of limited markets. However, market options have been dramatically reduced since most producers purchased their seed. Over the past several weeks, more and more elevators, ethanol plants and transportation channels have announced they will not accept Agrisure RW hybrids and stacks containing Agrisure RW, including South Dakota’s Poet Biorefinery plants, Cargill and rail companies such as Burlington Northern and Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern railroads.
Syngenta required farmers to identify the planned end use of the grain prior to receiving the seed. The SDCGA strongly recommends growers who intend to market this grain off-farm to contact their delivery point to ensure it will still accept this corn. Acceptance statuses are changing daily.
Feeding issues surrounding the product has also come under scrutiny. The Renewable Fuels Association expressed concerns over the trait contaminating distillers grains and other sources destined for export markets. A letter was sent by the RFA urging action by Syngenta to take steps to ensure the product stays out of unapproved market channels so as not to damage the U.S. ethanol industry’s relationships with export markets.
In addition, farmers should be cognizant of cross-pollination issues. The easiest way to minimize the risk from cross-pollination is to plant buffers around the field or harvest and market the first few rows of adjoining corn with the non-approved hybrids. Farmers should also remember to clean out planters adequately prior to planting other fields. But even these management practices can not prevent cross-pollination entirely.
Agrisure RW and stacks are available through NK Brands, Garst and Golden Harvest. For more information on hybrid numbers and approval status contact Sygenta at 1-877-GROW-CORN or visit the Agrisure website, www.agrisuretraits.com.