Ask the Agronomist: New Soybean Technology Approvals

Thanks for tuning into our weekly “Ask the Agronomist” Audiocast! Play the audio file below to listen to Mark’s response to this week’s question about the new soybean technology approvals.


Q: New soybean traits and technologies have been making headlines since last Friday when it was announced that Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans received EU approval. There have been rumblings that the Balance Bean also received EU approval last week. What is the status of these two new soybean technologies?

A: It’s important to understand that none of these technologies have actually received full approval. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans received their final approval from the European Union in the global approval process. However, the low-volatile formulation of dicamba herbicide intended for Xtend soybeans has not received approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Use of existing dicamba herbicides over top of Xtend soybeans is not allowed at this time.

Meanwhile, the Balance GT soybean also received EU approval last Friday but has not yet received approval from key markets such as China. The accompanying herbicide has not received approval from the EPA either.

Q: Since seed for the Xtend products has global approval, will it be commercially available for 2017 planting?

A: Yes, in fact, there are 13 new Xtend varieties in Latham’s 2017 lineup. Six of these products are designated as IRONCLAD™. Soybeans with the Ironclad designation have the toughest defense systems and are unique to Latham Hi-Tech Seeds.

Q: What are IRONCLAD Soybeans and why are they unique to Latham Seeds?

A: Research has shown that the best defense against Soybean Cyst Nematodes and Iron Deficiency Chlorosis is diligent seed selection. In 2003, Latham Seeds was the only seed company to introduce SCN-resistant soybean brands. Because we’re headquartered where soils are more prone to IDC, our soybean lines have been bred to overcome it.

The IRONCLAD series was introduced to help farmers distinguish which products have the best defense packages. IRONCLAD soybeans have been proven to yield the highest in difficult conditions. Many of our IRONCLAD products have taken first place over the past two years in the F.I.R.S.T. Trials!

Q: What does it take for a soybean product to receive IRONCLAD designation?

A: To be considered IRONCLAD, the soybean must have a Soybean Cyst Nematode and Phytophthora Root Rot deficiency gene. It must also score an Iron Deficiency Chlorosis rating of 2.2 or better. Depending on the needs of the variety geography, it can also protect against White Mold and Sudden Death Syndrome.

Q: What about Enlist products? Will they be offered in 2017?  

A: It’s very possible that Enlist will receive full approval in time for 2017 planting. Opposite of Xtend, Enlist has herbicide approval from the EPA but is awaiting Chinese approval.

Depending on regulatory approval, two Enlist products could be offered. Both Enlist soybeans and E3 Enlist soybeans will be tolerant to 2,4-D choline, glyphosate, and glufosinate.

So far, Enlist Duo is approved for use in the U.S. in 15 states on corn and soybeans. They are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and North Dakota.

We’ll be providing an update on these emerging soybean technologies, as well as new corn technologies as part of Latham’s Technology Road Show. The first tour stop will be Friday, August 19, in Eldridge, Iowa near Davenport. While the Latham Freedom of Independence Ride is traditionally a field day on two wheels, we will make groups available for people who prefer to drive cars or trucks.