Wheat growers expressed a mix of relief and disappointment in response to Monsanto's recent announcement that it will not seek to commercialize Roundup Ready wheat in 2004 — relief in that overseas markets that oppose biotech wheat will be at least temporarily appeased, and disappointment because a trait that has achieved widespread farmer acceptance in soybeans, cotton, canola and corn will not be available in wheat anytime soon. RR wheat, which Monsanto has field tested for the past six years, would have been the world's first commercialized biotech wheat.
Monsanto announced the decision to not market RR wheat after extensive consultation with customers in the wheat industry. Concerns about maintaining overseas markets for U.S. wheat weighed heavily in the decision.
In its announcement, the company reaffirmed its commitment to developing and commercializing more new traits for genetically modified corn, cotton and oilseeds.
As for wheat, Monsanto said it will continue to monitor industry and grower opinion to determine "if and when" it might be practical to bring RR and other traits to market in the future.