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  • Unconventional Ag

High Oleic Soybean Debut Delayed Again

The commercial launch of high oleic soybeans planned for last year has been pushed back to next year at the earliest because of a lack of global approval for the varieties.

Monsanto is still awaiting approval of its Vistive Gold high oleic soybeans from the EU and China. DuPont Pioneer has recently received approval for its Plenish high oleic soybeans from China, but is still waiting on approval from the EU. Until these approvals are received, both companies are proceeding with tight stewardship and production is being carefully controlled so as to avoid the situation the U.S. corn industry faced when China rejected shipments containing Syngenta’s genetically modified strain of corn, MIR162.

Demand from farmers for the varieties is high, as it is expected to earn them a premium of between 40 and 50 cents per bushel. Pioneer expects to allow farmers to plant between 200,000 and 300,000 acres of Plenish soybeans in 2015 and Monsanto expects a small amount of Vistive Gold to be planted through its Ground Breakers on-farm trial program.

It is estimated that the U.S. soybean industry has lost between 10 and 12 million acres of soybeans to competition from high oleic varieties of canola over the past seven to eight years. Once the approvals are processed, the soybean industry aims to regain its lost acreage. The United Soybean Board (USB) has set a goal for farmers to plant 18 million acres of high oleic soybeans by 2023, making it the fourth largest crop in the U.S. behind corn, regular soybeans, and wheat.

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