DEKALB, Ill., July 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Officials of DEKALB Genetics Corporation (NYSE: DKB) announced this week they will be the first and only seed company marketing Roundup Ready(R) corn to growers for the 1998 growing season, pending final governmental approvals that are anticipated by the end of this year.
DEKALB officials said the projected release of Roundup Ready corn hybrids is the result of more than 10 years of research. "Opportunities like this only come along once in a great while," said Ken Rinkenberger, DEKALB director of seed marketing. "Roundup Ready corn is an important new technology that meets a market need."
The Roundup Ready corn trait to be commercialized was developed by DEKALB -- yet more evidence of the company's research productivity. This time-intensive process resulted in a U.S. patent being issued to DEKALB in 1996 for corn that is tolerant to glyphosate, the primary active ingredient in Roundup Ultra(TM) herbicide. This is one of 10 patents awarded to DEKALB during the past two years. To expedite introduction of this exciting new technology, DEKALB accelerated breeding and production timelines to facilitate market introduction in 1997 and delivery in time for the 1998 growing season. While FDA and USDA approvals that are required for commercial introduction are anticipated by the end of this year, the EPA has already approved the over-the- top use of Roundup Ultra herbicide in corn.
"We are making an unprecedented commitment to generate a significant quantity of seed across a range of elite hybrids," said Rinkenberger. "Roundup Ready corn represents tremendous potential to growers and to DEKALB."
To meet the expected demand for Roundup Ready corn, DEKALB contracted with commercial growers in Hawaii, Argentina, and Chile. "Hawaiian commercial seed growers have stepped up to the plate with an effort to produce unparalleled supplies of foundation seed," said Rinkenberger. "In three months, the leading commercial growers in Chile and Argentina will use the Hawaiian-produced parent seed to grow a substantial volume of Roundup Ready seed corn for planting by U.S. growers next spring."
In the meantime, additional testing and research is being conducted this summer to verify the tolerance of DEKALB Brand Roundup Ready corn to Roundup Ultra herbicide, as well as appropriate rates and timings of various weed control programs. At harvest, yield performance of the new corn hybrids will be compared to the conventionally bred corn counterparts.
"We have high expectations for DEKALB Brand Roundup Ready corn hybrids," Rinkenberger said. "When you look at grower familiarity with Roundup Ultra combined with DEKALB's top-performing hybrids, it's a win-win situation."
Through a cross-licensing agreement with Monsanto, DEKALB has elected to have Monsanto license the DEKALB Roundup Ready trait to other seed companies -- making new technology more widely available to farmers in 1999 and beyond.
Roundup and Roundup Ready are registered trademarks and Roundup Ultra is a trademark of Monsanto Company (NYSE: MTC).
Based in DeKalb, Ill., DEKALB Genetics Corporation is a worldwide leader in agricultural genetics and biotechnology for seed and swine. DEKALB Genetics Corporation Class B Common Stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DKB.
Forward-looking statements are subject to several risk factors that could cause actual results to differ from projections. Among these factors are the company's relative product performance and competitive market position, weather conditions, commodity prices, trade policies, market conditions, and intellectual property matters.
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Last Updated on 5/21/99
By Karen Lutz