USA – The US government has given a nod to a new type of genetically modified corn developed by Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE), a global farm chemicals and seeds maker, with shorter than typical crops and better tolerance to strong winds.

Reuters reports that short-stature corn is among the latest crop varieties developed to withstand increasingly volatile weather associated with climate change, joining a growing list that includes drought and heat-tolerant corn, soybeans, and wheat.

According to Bayer, the North American sales of short-stature corn could reach as high as 1 billion euros. Corn is the largest crop grown in the U.S. in terms of acreage planted and net value.

The plants grow one-third shorter than current varieties in a bid to reduce losses from heavy winds that blow over crops and to make it easier for farmers to apply chemicals during the growing season.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture determined the crop is not subject to regulations because it does not pose a higher risk for pests than other types of corn.

“This plant may be safely grown and bred in the United States,” the USDA said in a notice.

However, hurdles remain, with Bayer saying that it still needs approval from the Environmental Protection Agency and importing countries before it can launch the corn in the U.S. The company expects the launch in the middle to later part of this decade.

This is despite that U.S. farmers are already growing a separate, non-genetically modified version of short Bayer corn on about 30,000 acres this year as part of a large trial.

Positively, Bayer said it anticipates plantings of the non-GM version will double in its commercial launch next year adding that it is also working on a third type of short-stature corn, developed with gene editing.

With this milestone, U.S. farmers can safely grow the new seed despite the existing trade dispute between US and Mexico regarding GM corn.

However, the Mexican government is still determined to counter U.S. arguments over agriculture biotech measures, including plans to limit its use of genetically modified (GM) corn, even after trade dispute settlement consultations.

This was revealed during the consultation requested by Washington as the two countries inch toward a full-blown trade dispute under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) over Mexico’s policies to limit the use of GM corn, usually imported from the U.S.

Mexico and the U.S. have been at odds since President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador published a decree in late 2020 that appeared to ban all GM corn imports, a multibillion-dollar trade between the two counties.

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