JAPAN, THE Philippines and Taiwan have given final regulatory approval to Monsanto's next-generation soybean technology, Roundup Ready 2 Yield. These approvals mark a significant step toward final commercialization.

“This announcement is a major milestone, because it brings Roundup Ready 2 Yield products closer to the field,” says David Nothmann, soybean agronomic trait lead with Monsanto. “We are on track for commercialization.”

The news follows both U.S. and Canadian approvals of the technology in July. The product is currently under scientific review by the EU Safety Authority as well as regulatory authorities in China and other key export markets.

Controlled commercial release of Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans won't come until 2009 on one million to two million acres. Full-scale launch is expected in 2010 on five million to six million acres.

Monsanto is banking on Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans as the primary platform for the introduction of new soybean trait technologies, including up to five new stacked trait offerings in soybeans by 2012. According to the company, early tests show that Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans have a 7 to 11% yield advantage over current Roundup Ready varieties. Monsanto is targeting both Group II and Group III varieties for the initial controlled commercial release in 2009.

“For the grower, this is the first of many new products to come,” Nothmann says. “We are moving toward a new era in soybeans and traits that we are bringing to the U.S. grower.”