US MAIZE growers were celebrating this week as the European Union finally approved Syngenta’s genetically modified MIR 162 Agrisure Vipterra variety for import.
There has been confusion and no shortage of ill-feeling amongst North America’s arable farmers over the GM variety, after many bought seed without realising that neither the EU nor China had approved it for sale on their markets.
The variety, engineered for resistance to a host of boring insects, as well as being tolerant of the herbicides glufosinate and glyphosate, is grown for primary manufacturing markets in the US – but its co-products, particularly distiller’s dried grains and corn gluten, are of considerable value in animal feed, and will find their way to Europe now marketing approval has been secured.
Speaking from the US Grains Council, Cary Sifferath warmly welcomed what he described as the ‘long-awaited’ approval of the variety and its co-products by Europe – and insisted that European farmers were keen on the feedstuff.
“This is especially attractive in big markets like Ireland, Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands,” said Mr Sifferath. “Their ability to import these high-protein feed ingredients is critical at a time of crop shortage in Europe and high prices. .
“Corn co-products are a tremendous feed ingredient recognized as a good value by buyers within Europe and around the world,” Mr Sifferath said.
“Approvals such as this help livestock and poultry producers manage costs and expand options, and we are hopeful the availability of these options continue well into the future.”
He noted, however, that this unfettered trade might only exist for a limited time, as new biotech varieties coming down the pipeline in the US would soon be joining MIR 162 in the ground – but were not yet approved in Europe.