Liberty Link Soybeans are expected to be made available to growers in 2009, according to the supplier, Bayer CropScience.
Also, Bayer intends to relaunch Liberty Link corn more aggressively in 2008. The plan includes a cash rebate to customers that could decrease their costs by $6.25 per acre. Bayer spokesman Jon Fischer says the plan will make Liberty Link corn price competetive with other non-selective, glyphosate-based weed control options.
Liberty Link soybeans were originally introduced by AgrEvo in test plots in 1997. However, the biotech market was then in its infancy, and the company did not have approvals to export biotech soybeans to critical European markets, which were largely opposed to biotech food and feeds.
AgrEvo chose to withhold Liberty Link soybeans at the time, citing the fact that approximately 45 percent of U.S.-produced soybeans are exported. The American Soybean Association supported AgrEvo’s decsion, saying the introduction could have caused problems for U.S. soybeans growers wanting to sell to foreign markets.
Since then, AgrEvo has disappeared and Liberty Link soybean technology has become Bayer’s property. Increasing concern about herbicide-resistant weeds is pushing Liberty Link soybeans to market, and export approvals for food and feed use are expected from Japan and China by the end of 2007, though European approval still lags.