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Monsanto looking to sell dicamba-resistant GM soy seed in Brazil

Reuters  |  SAO PAULO 

By Marcelo and Roberto Samora

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Brazilian unit of seed and agrochemicals maker on Thursday said it will run field tests with genetically modified soy seed INTACTA2 XTEND in in the 2019-20 crop, looking to launch the variety commercially the following year.

INTACTA2 XTEND seeds have been engineered to resist some weed killers, including those containing a chemical called The use of dicamba-based products caused controversy in the last year with accusations that the product drifted and damaged neighbouring crops.

said in a statement it will present the new product to Brazilian farmers next week at a fair in Mato Grosso do Sul, in the heart of Brazil's centre-west grain belt.

"This new technology will boost weed control, particularly of some weed varieties that are resistant to glyphosate," the company said.

Earlier generations of GM soy seeds contained glyphosate genes, which made them resistant to weed killers based on that chemical. But some weed varieties became resistant to herbicides containing glyphosate, prompting the company to look for new materials.

Brazilian regulators approved late in 2016 a request from to sell the dicamba-resistant seeds, but the company had declined to release plans to market the product in the country until now.

is the second-largest after the and produced a record crop of 114.1 million tonnes last year. It is the world's top exporter of the oilseed.

The faced a weed-killer crisis last year caused by new formulations of dicamba-based herbicides, which farmers and weed experts say harmed crops because they evaporate and drift away from where they are applied.

and say the herbicides are safe when properly applied. The manufacturers need to convince U.S. regulators, though, after farmers flooded state agriculture departments with complaints about crop damage associated with the products.

Nationwide, 3.6 million acres of U.S. soybeans, or about 4 percent of plantings, suffered damage associated with in 2017, according to data from the University of

Dicamba-based herbicides will carry tighter usage instructions this year in the United States, and the could block sales if complaints persist.

(Additional reporting by in Chicago; Editing by Bill Trott)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 12 2018. 02:08 IST