About “Beyond the Rows”

Beyond the Rows is a Monsanto Company blog focused on one of the world’s most important industries, agriculture. Monsanto employees write about Monsanto’s business, the agriculture industry, and the farmer.
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Healthy soy and soy with sudden death syndrome, side by side

Sudden Death Syndrome Making its Mark in Soybeans

A healthy soybean field on the left, a field with medium to heavy Sudden Death Syndrome pressure on the right.

I couldn’t cut it as a farmer—for a multitude of reasons—but primarily, I couldn’t stomach the business risks involved. There are risks such as weather and disease that are completely out of your hands no matter how much forethought and planning you do.

It appears that U.S. soybean farmers are facing one such risk this year with Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), based on news reports and feedback from farmers and Monsanto sales teams. Farmers are scouting, or surveying, their … Full Article »

A Picture of a Reduced Refuge Concept is Worth…

A few weeks back, I wrote a post attempting to explain simply in words the difference between current and future corn products offering a reduced refuge. (“Refuge in the Bag: Will that be one bag or two?”)

I reviewed Monsanto’s current Genuity® VT Triple PROTM and Genuity® SmartStax TM products versus Pioneer’s Optimum® AcreMaxTM 1 and Monsanto’s in-development RIB Complete concept (not yet available).

Sometimes a picture is better than words. This technical piece provides an effective visual of the four products below.

Much better. Thanks team.

UPDATE: I received a comment (see below) that Full Article »

Canola was originally bred in the 1970s, and is used as a food oil and as biofuel. Canola is also used as an animal feed and can be found in candles and lipsticks.

GM Canola on the Loose? Some Points to Consider

Canola was originally bred in the 1970s, and is used as a food oil and as biofuel. Canola is also used as an animal feed and can be found in candles and lipsticks.

Have you ever seen a canola plant? It’s a very pretty crop produced for its oil and distinguished by its bright yellow blooms. From a purely aesthetic point of view, it’s not a bad plant to find growing as a weed along the roadside, which often happens. Some probably even mistake it for a wildflower. One department of transportation is purposefully planting it roadside.

Canola (and … Full Article »


Hybrids vs. Heirlooms

If there is something good to come out of the Internet chatter on Monsanto’s donation of hybrid seed to Haiti, then perhaps it is this: More discussion and explanation of the difference between heirloom and hybrid seeds.

George Ball wrote a guest column for the Des Moines Register called “A Juicy Debate: Hybrids vs. Heirlooms.” Ball is a past president of The American Horticultural Society and chairman of the W. Atlee Burpee & Co.–well known for the line of Burpee Seeds sold in big box stores around the country. Fair disclosure: Monsanto sells some of its Seminis brand … Full Article »

Monsanto's Genuity Smartstax compared to Pioneer's Optimum Acremax

Refuge in the Bag: Will That Be One Bag or Two?

Seed companies—including Monsanto—have been developing the concept of “refuge in the bag,” or RIB for short, for a number of years now. The goal is to make refuge compliance for insect-protected (B.t.) crops easier and simpler for farmers. Today, for most products, the U.S. EPA requires a corn farmer to set aside a percentage of land and plant a structured refuge.

Ideally, a refuge-in-the-bag option provides both types of seed—insect-protected and non-insect-protected—in one bag. The seed company manufactures the right mix based on the refuge percentage required for a particular corn technology. In a true RIB concept, farmers … Full Article »

Europe Proposes Changes to GMO Approvals

The European Commission announced today that they are proposing new rules for GMO approvals. The new rules would give each of the 27 EU member states the right to grow, restrict or ban biotech crops in their respective countries. The EU Commission would still study health effects of the crops under the current system.

Currently, the only biotech products approved for planting in the EU are potato (BASF’s Amflora) and a Monsanto corn product, MON 810. MON 810 is an insect-protected (B.t.) hybrid called YieldGard which protects the crop against European corn borer. MON 810 was … Full Article »

Agriculture Biotech Means More Yield, Less (Greenhouse)Gas

I have it on my long to-do list to start a series about yield and why it matters. I’ve made the point with some of my colleagues that although yield is a positive term for farmers, it doesn’t resonate much with the general public. That’s because 1) it’s primarily agriculture terminology and 2) our American culture has equated productivity and efficiency with a lack of quality and a loss of artistry/skill.

Yield matters for a variety of reasons, but one was illuminated this week in a new study released by Stanford Earth researchers: Increases in crop yields may slow the … Full Article »

Harvesting Alfalfa

Supreme Court Decision on Biotech Alfalfa – Who Wins?

The big news kicking off the week is the U.S. Supreme Court’s 7-1 ruling to reverse a lower court’s ban on Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa product. Media reports trumpeted Monsanto’s win:

Then, surprisingly, the Center for Food Safety issued a statement mid-day claiming victory. According to CFS, they are “celebrating” today the victory of a 7-1 … Full Article »

Five Answers on Monsanto’s Haiti Seed Donation

Since announcing Monsanto’s $4 million seed donation to Haitian farmers on May 13, there have been some questions and some inaccuracies regarding details of the gift. We covered some of the answers in this initial blog post, which primarily addressed how the donation came about and noted the seeds were hybrids not biotech (GMO).

  • Monsanto contacted the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture and offered specific non-GMO seed varieties and quantities suited for Haiti’s growing conditions. The Ministry reviewed the offer and asked some questions, including whether we intended to include GMO seed because Haiti does not have the legal framework
Full Article »

Monsanto Donates Corn and Vegetable Seed to Haiti

A building in Haiti almost 4 months after the initial earthquake.

It’s been four months since the ground shook in Haiti. A few weeks after that catastrophic event, the World Economic Forum was held in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss a variety of global issues, including the outlook for agriculture. Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant and Executive Vice President Jerry Steiner attended the event and had conversations with attendees about what could be done to help Haiti. Monsanto had already donated money, but it was clear that a donation of our products—corn and vegetable seeds—could really make a difference … Full Article »