(AP) Monsanto Co. and Dow Chemical Co. agreed to cross-license seed technologies to produce new versions of genetically modified corn as crop-killing weeds and bugs show increasing resistance to older technologies.
Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company, becomes the first to license Dow’s Enlist trait, which creates crops that can tolerate 2,4-D herbicide, the companies said today in a joint statement. Dow, the largest U.S. chemical maker by sales, is licensing Monsanto’s Corn Rootworm III, which controls root-eating bugs.
The agreement allows new traits to be added by the end of the decade to the companies’ co-developed SmartStax corn, which already has eight technologies to control bugs and tolerate weedkillers. Adding overlapping technologies will make SmartStax more durable in the face of emerging resistance, said Garry Hamlin, a Dow spokesman.
“SmartStax is ahead of the curve in controlling weed and insect resistance, and we plan to keep it that way,” Hamlin said by telephone today.
About 65 million acres of U.S. cropland harbored weeds last year that aren’t killed by glyphosate, the world’s best-selling herbicide, a 51 percent increase from 2011, Dow said in February.
“We continue to look for additional modes of action that offer benefit to our farmer customers and complement our existing offerings,” Monsanto President Brett Begemann said in the statement.