As harvest shifts into high gear, the Indiana Corn Marketing Council is reminding Hoosier farmers to adhere to existing stewardship agreements and make sure a certain corn biotech trait known as Duracade is handled properly. ICMC and the U.S. Grains Council, a national organization that works with customers of U.S. corn, DDGS, barley and sorghum from 10 offices worldwide, are stressing to farmers the importance of keeping in mind the needs of overseas customers. “We want to remind farmers of the importance in taking the necessary steps to protect our trade integrity,” said Dennis Maple, ICMC president. “Especially because of our proximity to the Ohio River, a major trade artery to foreign markets, Hoosier farmers have a vital responsibility to help protect our trade channels. We need to keep in mind that the first purchasers of our corn crop are usually not the end users, with 40 percent of Indiana’s corn shop being exported out of state or even around the world.”
Agrisure Duracade is a seed trait offered by Syngenta to help rootworm control. The trait is approved in the United States for production and use and is approved for import by Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand. However, no amount of Duracade in corn shipments is approved in China or the European Union. “Decisions made on the farm can have big international trade impacts,” said Tom Sleight, U.S. Grains Council president and CEO. “With the new crop coming in, it is extremely important that producers as well as the entire value chain strictly adhere to the Agrisure Duracade stewardship program on the farm and as the grain makes its way to customers.”
If corn containing this trait were to inadvertently leak into export channels, U.S. grain shipments to these key markets risk rejection and potential closure to U.S. exports until regulatory approval is received in these countries.“Everyone who handles Duracade grain on and off the farm needs to understand the importance of following the established stewardship guidelines,” said Rosalind Leeck, ICMC’s Director of Grain Marketing. “Any amount of Duracade corn in the trade channels can have very significant implications for the marketplace.”
Syngenta began a limited-acre introductory launch of Agrisure Duracade for the 2014 crop year, and Agrisure Duracade corn is just beginning to enter U.S. distribution channels. It’s critical that corn containing this trait be segregated from export cargoes headed to countries in which it has not yet been approved.
Syngenta and its grain handler partner, Gavilon, are working to make sure all farmers growing Duracade are aware of how to strictly adhere to the stewardship program protocols. Gavilon also guarantees its ability to pick up and purchase – at fair market price – any Agrisure Duracade corn for which an appropriate buyer cannot be found.
The Chinese market is particularly sensitive to traits the country’s regulators have not yet approved. The Chinese market for U.S. corn and DDGS (distiller’s dried grains with solubles) is currently being disrupted by another trait known as MIR 162, which is approved in the U.S. and around the world but not in China.
Producers with questions about the appropriate marketing of Agrisure Duracade corn should contact their local seed provider or call Gavilon’s Duracade Desk at 1-844-559-1500“We are glad our growers have the option to take advantage of new technologies like the Agrisure Duracade trait as soon as they become available, but with that opportunity comes the responsibility for managing a technology that has not yet obtained global approval,” said Leeck. “As farmers are making their seed purchasing decisions for next year’s crop, they need to weigh their need for specific traits with the potential issues and increased stewardship responsibilities in grain handling.”
Farmers can learn more about the appropriate stewardship of biotech traits through the National Corn Growers Association’s Know Before You Grow website at www.knowbeforeyougrow.com.