Forage Genetics to Sell GM Alfalfa in Eastern Canada in 2016

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Forage Genetics International (FGI) has announced it will offer commercial seed sales of HarvXtra  alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology to farmers in Eastern Canada in time for spring 2016 planting.

HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology is an elite alfalfa containing both the Roundup Ready trait and a reduced-lignin trait. The reduced-lignin technology was developed through a strategic partnership formed between FGI, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Centre and Pioneer, in conjunction with Monsanto Company.

HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology offers growers unsurpassed weed control with excellent crop safety and maximizes grower flexibility to ease the yield versus quality trade-off currently faced by alfalfa producers to produce quality alfalfa for dairy and beef cows. 

Expected seed quantities will be limited in 2016 but are estimated to be sufficient to plant a small, targeted launch of less than 5,000 acres of hay.

FGI is introducing commercial seed sales of HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology in Eastern Canada only.  At this time, there are no plans to commercially offer HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology to growers in Western Canada.

This decision is confined to the sale of seed for hay production. Companies are not permitted to undertake HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology seed production in Canada.  All seed production has taken place in the U.S., with only commercial sales for hay production allowed in Eastern Canada in 2016.

The Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) has facilitated the development of hay-to-hay coexistence plans and best management practices for both Eastern Canada and Western Canada working in conjunction with the alfalfa forage industry value chain, which included FGI and Monsanto Canada.   While HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology will not be sold in Western Canada at this time the completion of an updated plan was in response to requests for additional stewardship guidelines to address the possibility of product moving from Eastern Canada to Western Canada.

Similar stewardship plans in the U.S. have allowed organic, conventional and genetically modified (GM) alfalfa farmers to coexist, regardless of the production method they choose. GM alfalfa has been sold and grown by U.S. farmers since 2005.

Canadian regulatory agencies granted approval for the unconfined environmental release of reduced lignin alfalfa in October 2014 followed by authorization of HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology in December 2014.