Yesterday I received a copy of a Nufarm media release* announcing that the company had paid Monsanto $10 million for their Roundup Ready® canola germ plasm and a licence to the Roundup Ready® canola trait.
The media release explained that “Roundup Ready® is a genetic trait that allows farmers to use Roundup herbicide over the top of their crops, offering broad spectrum and efficient weed control and simplifying production of those crops”. Further, “the Roundup Ready® canola trait was approved by the Australian Office of Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR) in December 2003, but has not yet been commercialised in Australia following the imposition of State Government moratoriums in the major canola growing States”. And also that, “pending relevant State government authorisation, Nufarm’s Australian canola seed business platform is ideally placed to develop and bring to market Roundup Ready® canola varieties”.
So Nufarm is gearing up to supply Australian farmers with GM canola seed.
The media release finishes with comment that, “canola is also being sought to meet increasing demand from the emerging bio-fuels industry.”
In July the federal government announced a grant of $7.15 million to Riverina Biofuels Pty Ltd under its ‘Biofuels Capital Grants Program’.
Yesterday I received a copy of a media release from MPI Engineering** announcing that they will design and construct a new $16 million biodiesel factory for Riverina Biofuels Pty Ltd in the country town of Deniliquin in NSW. The media release explains that, “the facility will convert natural oils such as tallow and vegetable oil into biodiesel”.
I assume the tallow would be imported? Last year of the 2,535,000 tonnes of oilseed produced in Australia, 1,531,000 was from canola. This product is commonly referred to as vegetable oil.
So will GM canola power the new deniliquin biofuels plant?
* Nufarm acquires Australian licence for Roundup Ready® canola, Company Announcement, 6th September
** MPI Group Wins New Biofuels Plant Project, MPI Engineering Solutions Media Release, 6th September