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News 359 views last update:6 Aug 2012

RR-lucerne to expensive for Australia

Although it would be a perfect solution for farmers the cost of research and deregulation to bring roundup-Ready lucerne (alfalfa) to Australia is simply too high, according to a report in The Land.

Glyphosate-tolerant or Roundup-Ready (RR) lucerne, developed by Forage Genetics and Monsanto, was first available in the United States in 2005 and is set to be re-released there again later this year.
 
RR lucerne is genetically modified and according to the manager of the international division of Forage Genetics, Bill Knipe, the market for the product in Australia may not yet be large enough for his company together with Monsanto and marketing partners to apply to have it deregulated in Australia.
 
Monsanto and Forage Genetics own the patents for RR lucerne and it would be a decision made by those two companies if the plant was to come into this country.
 
RR lucerne would have a great market in Australia depending on the price because of its production convenience versus conventional lucerne, which requires various chemical treatments to keep weeds under control.
 
The forage crop is presently undergoing an environmental assessment through the US Department of Agriculture after court action in California challenged its application process in 2005 (the challenge was not based on technical grounds).
 
To import and sell RR lucerne a genetically modified organism (GMO) license would need to be issued by the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator after a strict assessment process involving field trials and a risk assessment and risk management plan.

Dick Ziggers

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