Corteva ramps up biotech soyabean seed rollout

US seed and crop protection company Corteva Inc is accelerating production of its Enlist E3 biotech soyabean seeds and complementary herbicides in Canada and the USA over the next five years.

“Corteva continues to see strong demand from farmers, retailers and independent seed companies and expects planted acreage projections in 2020 to approach 20% of the US market – double original expectations,” the company said on 30 January.

According to Reuters, the move heightened competition with rival German chemical firms Bayer AG and BASF SE.

Enlist E3 soyabeans – co-developed with MS Technologies LLC, USA – are genetically modified to tolerate three herbicides – 2,4-D choline, glyphosate and glufosinate.

Corteva said that starting in 2021, it would significantly reduce its volume of products with Bayer’s Roundup Ready 2 Yield and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend herbicide tolerant traits, with expected minimal use of the trait platform after it completed the ramp-up of its Enlist weed control system.

Bayer’s Xtend soyabeans are resistant to both glyphosate and dicamba. The German firm is currently facing around 42,700 lawsuits in the USA claiming that its glyphosate-based pesticide, Roundup, causes cancer, while dicamba has drawn complaints for drifting to neighbouring fields and killing plants not genetically modified to resist it.

Corteva, which spun off last year after a merger of Dow Chemical and Dupont, had previously been set to sell Bayer’s Xtend brand soyabean seeds for the next few years, Reuters wrote.

Corteva also said it had recently received import authorisation in China for its Conkesta soyabean insect control traits, which would be offered as a stack with the Enlist E3 soyabean herbicide trait in Latin America in the early 2020s.