Monsanto Expects 2014 Approval Of GM Soybean Resistant To Stronger Herbicides

Agriculture giant Monsanto announced that the company expects a 2014 approval of their controversial new genetically modified (GM) soybean seeds. According to the Wall Street Journal, Monsanto expects to be able to sell the new GM soybean seeds, pending the expected regulatory approvals, as early as 2016. Monsanto’s new soybean plants will be resistant to a broader range of stronger herbicides. Farmers will be able to apply stronger weed killers to the soybean plants without harming the soybean plant itself, thanks to the modification of the soybean’s genetic code.

Monsanto’s chief technology officer Robert Fraley said the company is “on track for U.S. regulatory approval toward the end of the year.” International approvals are anticipated by Monsanto in 2015. Monsanto calls the looming approval a huge step forward in progress.

RoundUp, the current weed killer of choice, has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, the disease Robin Williams was diagnosed with before his suicide. The gylphosate component in RoundUp has also been linked to cancers, kidney disease and other diseases. BizJournals reports, “Monsanto has been seeking approval for the seeds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture since 2010, but the process has been slowed due to pushback from environmental groups.”

Monsanto’s new soybean seeds are intended for use with Monsanto’s new stronger weed killer. The new herbicide from Monsanto will be branded as Roundup Xtend. RoundUp Xtend combines the current herbicide glyphosate with the weed killer dicamba. RoundUp Xtend is expected to be deregulated despite public concern.

Earlier this month, Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, senior scientist with the Pesticide Action Network North America, told Reuters, “We are outraged.” She explained, “Despite all of this public outcry, what these decisions show is that USDA is much more interested in working with Dow and Monsanto and getting their products to market than in protecting the public.”

According to a previous Inquisitr report, the United States Department of Agriculture estimated that 70 million acres of U.S. farmland experienced glyphosate resistant weeds last year, leaving the agricultural technology sector’s star product, RoundUp, failing to kill some weeds. Weeds became resistant to RoundUp after repeated use by natural selection. As the weeds built up tolerance to RoundUp, farmers faced difficult challenges. While Monsanto admits that eventually farmers may face similar issues with their new RoundUp Xtend, their product will offer great relief over super weed worries for some time.

Public comments regarding the approval of Monsanto’s dicamba resistant GM soybean can be left for the federal regulators here.

[Photo credit: United Soybean Board]