Forage Genetics to sell HarvXtra Alfalfa with Roundup Ready Technology in Eastern Canada in 2016

Monsanto Canada Inc. 3/29/2016

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. 

Farmers can learn more about the product concept and benefits of HarvXtra™ alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology at:   http://www.foragegenetics.com/forage-innovation.aspx

QUESTIONS/ANSWERS:

Q.           What is HarvXtra™ technology in alfalfa?

A.            HarvXtra™ technology is the industry’s first genetically-enhanced alfalfa technology developed to maximize quality compared to conventional alfalfa at the same stage of maturity, by reducing the amount of lignin in the plant.

Q.           What are the benefits of HarvXtra™ technology in alfalfa?

A.            HarvXtra™ alfalfa gives growers the ability to better manage the yield-versus-quality tradeoff.  It offers more flexibility in cutting schedule to achieve improved forage quality or greater yield potential when compared to conventional alfalfa at the same stage of maturity.

Q.           What is lignin and why is it better to reduce the lignin content in alfalfa?

A.            Lignin is a structural component of the alfalfa plant that holds the plant upright. However, it also makes the plant less digestible for cattle and dairy cows.  Reducing lignin content should increase fiber digestibility and change/improve quality as the plant matures, compared to conventional alfalfa at the same stage of maturity.

Q.           What is the difference between HarvXtra™ alfalfa and conventional alfalfa developed for improved quality?

A.            Genetically-enhanced HarvXtra™ technology fundamentally changes the relationship between forage quality and stage of maturity by modifying lignin content beyond what was possible with conventional alfalfa breeding techniques.

Q.           Where will HarvXtra™ alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology be sold in Canada?

A.            HarvXtra™ alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology is only for sale and planting in limited geographical areas in Eastern Canada.  Specifically the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.  Growers must also direct any product produced from HarvXtra™ alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology for Canadian domestic use only.

Q.           Will Genuity® Roundup Ready® alfalfa be sold as a single trait product?

A.            No.  For Canada, FGI has decided to provide the benefits of Roundup Ready technology ONLY as part of a HarvXtra™ alfalfa with Roundup Ready® Technology product.

Questions:   Mike Peterson, Forage Genetics 608-295-3566

Media:   Becky Lentz, Land O’ Lakes at rklentz@landolakes.com or 651-375-5949

TM HarvXtra is a trademark of Forage Genetics International, Inc.
®  Roundup Ready is a registered trademark of Monsanto Technology LLC.