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Monsanto receives EPA approval for SmartStax corn seeds

By Catherine Wolf, KWMU

St. Louis, MO –

St. Louis-based Monsanto and partner Dow AgroSciences have gotten approval from the EPA and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to sell SmartStax corn seeds.

Officials from Monsanto and Dow said it's the first time eight genes have been stacked to make seeds that resist herbicides and multiple insects.

Dow AgriSciences' Tom Wiltrout said farmers could see a two-to-four percent higher yield because the seeds kill more bugs in different ways.

"In-plant insect protection has consistently provided a significant yield improvement over non-insect protected corn and so there is a significant financial value to the grower for that."

Phillip Miller, Monsanto's vice president of product management, said farmers will also have more options for fighting weeds.

"A grower can choose to use two different herbicides in that cropping system, bringing in two modes of action. It's great mechanism to prevent weed resistance."

Both companies plan to begin selling the seeds next year. Officials estimate they could account for up to 65 million U.S. corn acres in the next five to six years.