For some farmers, the introduction of Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans put power over weeds back in growers' hands. However, while they may have gained an edge on weeds, farmers are encountering an obstacle on the selling side: The European Union is currently not accepting Xtend and in turn, some American elevators will not accept the product either.
While Monsanto, which manufactures Xtend, gained export approval from China in February, the product is still in process in the E.U. Europe is the No. 2 market for U.S. soybean imports, second to China.
Xtend did receive a positive scientific review by the European Food Safety Authority in June 2015 and has moved to the final approval stages. “Glyphosate single and dicamba single are approved. We’re just waiting for approval of the stack,” says John Combest, Monsanto product communications manager. “We’re confident we’ll get approval.”
Subsequently, Monsanto and Pioneer, along with more than 100 other licensees, are selling Xtend for the 2016 season.
But some end users have reservations about the soybeans. “The barge market is not accepting,” says Charlie Laird, risk manager at Consolidated Grain and Barge (CGB). Until Xtend soybeans are approved in EU, he says the company will have a zero tolerance policy for the variety. “Monsanto continues to say it will be approved shortly, but we really have no idea,” Laird adds.
Those concerns are trickling down to the local level. Some elevators have said they will not be accepting Xtend because of the soybean's unresolved E.U. export status. “These soybeans have not been E.U.-approved, which makes them unacceptable by some of our end-use partners,” said Michigan-based Cooperative Elevator in a recent statement. Similar announcements have been released by other grain elevators who work with foreign marketers like CGB and others.
Monsanto says the E.U. should be approving Xtend very soon. “We’ve received verbal confirmation that EU approval is imminent,” says Miriam Paris, Monsanto Xtend launch lead. “It’s our understanding there is a large number of elevators still accepting Xtend.”
Xtend has been under review in the EU since March 29, 2012, and in Monsanto’s breeding program for eight years.
Advice for Farmers
If you're planning to buy or market Xtend soybeans, you'll want to do some research first. Let your local elevator know you may be planting Xtend and ask if they will be accepting the soybeans. If not, you'll want to call around to see whether you'll be able to market them in your area or not.
Are you planting Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans? Will your local elevator accept them? Let us know in the comments.