Competitors come together in agreement today—Monsanto will license the Corn Rootworm III and MON89034 (Bt) traits to Corteva Agriscience, the ag division of DowDuPont. This technology can be integrated into Corteva’s trait technologies. For example, after pending regulatory reviews, Corn Rootworm III will be offered with the Enlist trait for corn. The “billion-dollar bug,” corn rootworm, is currently displaying resistance to Bt trait technologies in some areas of the U.S., so new tools in the fight are much-needed. Monsanto representatives say the trait is in “phase 4” of development—the last stage before commercial launch—but did not provide a specific launch year. “The combination of Corn Rootworm III with Corteva Agriscience’s molecular stack for insect control and the Enlist corn trait will give our customers the ability to protect yield while extending the durability of industry-leading trait technology,” says Tony Klemm, global corn portfolio leader for Corteva.
This move indicates Monsanto will continue licensing trait technologies to other players on the market—a practice the company has widely used and will likely continue even if/when the pending acquisition by Bayer goes through. “We view this agreement as an endorsement for the novel mode of action that Monsanto’s Corn Rootworm III traits bring to farmers, as it builds on the current products planted today by adding a new RNAi mode of action that enhances effectiveness against one of the industry’s most destructive pests,” says Calvin Treat, Monsanto global soy and corn technology lead.