Soybean School: What to Know Before Sowing Off-Patent Soybean Seed

If you grew first-generation Roundup Ready soybeans under contract, saving and trading or re-planting that seed could result in a violation of their contract, says Lorne Hadley, executive director of the Canadian Plant Technology Agency.

In 2011, Monsanto’s patent on the first Roundup Ready trait in soybeans expired. Some sellers may be selling or trading soybean seed, but these varieties are likely covered by plant breeders’ rights or other patents. These intellectual property tools mean seed can’t be traded between farmers.

In most cases, the companies selling first generation Roundup Ready soybeans had direct agreements or sales contracts where producers agreed not to trade common seed, explains Hadley, in this Soybean School episode.

Beyond legal ramifications, there are other reasons a farmer may want to think twice about planting off-patent beans, he says — most notably that RR1 varieties have been replaced by better genetics and there’s the unknown of how a variety will perform.

“We understand there might have been a few very obsolete varieties that were sold without a contract, but again those are older, 12 year old varieties, likely not the kind of modern genetics that are in today’s varieties after 10 or 12 years of experience and breeding technologies,” says Hadley.

More, in the video below:

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