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Near-Term Marketing Plans for Specialty Crops

Crop and Soil Environmental News, February 1997

Charles Hagedorn,
Extension Biotechnology Specialist

NewLeaf Bt potatoes, from Monsanto and its seed division, NatureMark, Boise, ID, were commercially introduced in 1996 and contain built-in resistance to Colorado potato beetle (CPB), which can destroy up to 85% of a crop. Currently, total Bt potato pest management programs include use of IPM techniques that are "soft" on beneficial insects, CPB population monitoring, and planting of a non-Bt refuge to at least 20% of the total potato crop. For 1997, NatureMark anticipates NewLeaf will be planted on 50,000 acres. Due for introduction in limited quantities in 1997 are alfalfa varieties with built-in resistance to potato leafhopper. Several virus-resistant varieties are planned for release in 1998; potatoes stacked with both Bt and resistance to potato leafroll virus and potato virus Y (mosaic), and squash varieties resistant to cucumber mosaic virus, zucchini yellow mosaic virus, and watermelon mosaic virus two. Value-added vegetables include Monsanto's enhanced shelf-life tomato, while in development at Zeneca and Petoseed are meatier processing tomatoes for a thicker paste. Researchers at Rutgers University are field-testing a technology which, like Bt potatoes, helps eggplant resist CPB. Liberty Link canola, currently registered in Canada, will have a U.S. debut in 1998-99, followed by rice (2000) and sugar beets (2001). Researchers in Louisiana are field-testing IMI-Rice. Glyphosate (Roundup) resistance has been field tested in wheat, sugar beets, lettuce, and potatoes, and these crops will probably be available by 2000 as well.

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