Monsanto Drops Controversial Technology Fees

A change in the pricing structure for Monsanto’s biotechnology seed products will be showing up on seed invoices starting with next spring’s crops. Instead of farmers seeing a line item covering technology fees on an invoice, the company is shifting to a royalty pricing structure that will be paid by seed companies licensed to market these products.

The program includes YieldGard corn, Roundup Ready corn, Roundup Ready soybeans and stacked hybrid corn. With a cost this year of $6.50 per bag of Roundup Ready soybeans and $18 per bag of Roundup Ready corn, the technology fee got its start in 1966 with the introduction of Roundup Ready soybeans.

“The technology fees have worked well to show growers the cost of technology,” says Jim Zimmer, U.S. director of technology for corn and soybeans at Monsanto. “But growers did not like the fee.”

While the tech fee will not appear as a line item on invoices, Zimmer says no-tillers will see little change in seed prices. “We don’t want growers to get the wrong perception of this announcement,” he says. “We are not saying that we’re lowering the cost of the system to the seed company.”

Since seed companies will be paying a royalty to Monsanto, they’ll include the cost in the price of corn or soybean seed. Tech fees will continue to be collected by Monsanto for cotton and canola.

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