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Minn. farmers warned not to plant Monsanto’s latest Roundup soybeans

Minn. farmers warned not to plant Monsanto’s latest Roundup soybeans

http://www.startribune.com/monsanto-s-latest-roundup-soybean-seed-raising-eyebrows/380552371/Across Minnesota, grain buyers and sellers have been warning farmers this spring to be wary about planting Monsanto’s latest biotech soybean.

The product was launched in U.S. and Canadian markets for the first time this year, but it has not been approved yet for sale in the European Union. Traders and others say that uncertainty, if not resolved, will cause price declines, confusion and disruption in international trade.

“We’re making our farmers aware of the situation,” said David Kee, research director of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. “We do not encourage the planting of this because of the risk involved.”

The product in question is Roundup Ready 2 Xtend, a genetically modified soybean seed that is resisistant to a pair of herbicides called glyphosate and dicamba.

It was developed because weeds have become resistant to Roundup Ready varieties with traits that used glyphosate alone.

The genetic modifications in the new seed allow both pesticides to be used without harming the soybeans.

“We could use the technology in soybeans readily,” Kee said. “We just want to make sure it’s completely legal and no risk to our market.”

The reason it’s a risk is because unapproved soybeans and approved soybeans often get mixed together in grain elevators, unit trains or ships when they’re exported, and it’s difficult and expensive for grain buyers and sellers to try to keep them separate.

“At the grain elevator level it makes it very challenging because when we’re buying soybeans from the producers, we have no idea what market it’s going to,” said Bob Zelenka, executive director of the Minnesota Grain and Feed Association. “So we could very easily end up shipping to the European market and then potentially be refused to enter that market.”

Minnesota farmers planted 7.6 million acres of soybeans in 2015, making it the nation’s fourth-largest producer with estimated sales valued at $3.25 billion. read more at startribune.com