Washington Ag November 17, 2005 After hearing from a representative of Monsanto at a forum on Roundup Ready alfalfa this week in Yakima the president of the Washington State Hay Growers Association, Chep Gauntt, says he is somewhat apprehensive. The Association wants a delay in the commercialization of the herbicide resistant alfalfa seed in Washington until the hay is accepted by overseas customers like Japan. Monsanto says full regulatory approval of Roundup Ready alfalfa by Japan will be complete in January but Gauntt says regulatory approval does not equal market acceptance.
Gauntt: "I don't know what they are going to do if they are going to listen to us in our request for a delay. Certainly they are prepared to deliver on schedule in January or February. And people need to realize that if you give alfalfa seed to a Columbia Basin grower in February we can have that crop on the market by June."
Monsanto says there are customers in Japan who want Roundup Ready alfalfa but that's not what Gauntt is hearing. For end-users who want non-GMO hay Monsanto says a forage strip test is available and protocols for it are being developed but Gaunt says that puts the burden and the cost of testing on the producer.
About 20 to 25% of Washington's alfalfa production is exported.
I'm Bob Hoff.