BASF under pressure from China’s approval of rival’s GM soyabean

China’s approval of DowDuPont’s Enlist 3 soyabean for import will put German chemical company Bayer AG on the defensive, analysts say.

On 8 January, China approved five GM products for import including Bayer-owned Monsanto’s MON 88302 canola, BASF’s RF3 canola, the SYHT0H2 soyabean developed by Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, and DowDuPont’s DP4114 Qrome corn and DAS-44406-6 soyabean, known as Enlist E3.

Enlist 3 was developed by DowDuPont with smaller seed company MS Technologies and is resistant to the herbicides glyphosate, glufosinate and 2,4-D.

Reuters said Enlist 3 would rival Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soyabeans, which could resist glyphosate and a newer version of a chemical called dicamba.

Harry Stine, chief executive of Stine Seed, a company affiliated with MS Technologies, said Enlist E3 would probably not be fully launched this year as it lacked approval from the Philippines but he expected substantial US plantings in 2020.

Stined claimed that, unlike Monsanto’s dicamba herbicide, Enlist E3 “does not drift at all”.

US farmers have complained of dicamba drifting to non-resistant crops and several states have banned their use or introduced usage restrictions. Bayer is also facing more than 9,000 US lawsuits claiming glyphosate causes cancer.

Monsanto has dominated the US seed market, with farmers using Xtend soyabeans on some 45% of the soya planted area last year.

However, a Cleveland Research Company report said that within a few years of launching, the Enlist range of seeds and herbicides could win a comparable market share to Bayer’s Xtend platform.