NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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May 23, 2010 Ag Column


This rain thing is getting a little frustrating.  Luckily we did have a great week in general but those of you in eastern and northeastern Ramsey this is just what we did not need.  Depending on weather we will probably see 4-5 day delay in those areas with a lot of ground not getting planted, just what we DO NOT need.  As wet as our ground is we need plant growth to use up excess moisture and also help reduce salt being left behind, due to evaporation.  Planting really progressed this past week and emergence has been taking anywhere from 3 days to 4-5 days depending on crop planted and coolness of the soil.  One last note is as I was driving a tractor on Saturday I found people really not caring about the farming community and even to the point of being rude.  I had pulled over but the tractor I was driving had triples, this community service vehicle shot by me, guessing 70 plus.  I really wonder how much time they saved by not slowing up  until they had gotten by until they arrived at their destination.  All I can say is “COME ON, GIVE THE FARMING COMMUNITY A “BRAKE” THIS TIME OF YEAR”



The Canadian flax variety ‘CDC Triffid’ was genetically modified (GM) to be resistant to herbicides containing sulfonylurea. It was developed by the

University of Saskatchewan Crop Development Centre senior research scientist Alan McHughen. The variety was registered with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in the mid-1990s. But European customers, who buy 60 percent of Canada's flax, indicated that they did not want to buy any GM flax. Canadian flax farmers and producer groups, afraid the Europeans would label all Canadian flax as contaminated, pushed for the elimination of CDC Triffid. The variety was subsequently deregistered in the spring of 2001. The flax variety was never grown commercially, but roughly 40 farmers from across the Canadian Prairies were multiplying seed in anticipation of future demand for the variety. After deregulation of the variety around 200,000 bushels of CDC Triffid flax seed was collected from farms across the Canadian Prairies and the flax was crushed.


On September 10th 2009 the European Union Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed reported finding the unapproved genetically modified flax variety (CDC

Triffid) in food products in Germany. Further testing since that time has found the unapproved gene in other flax products and/or unprocessed flax seed.


The flax variety CDC Triffid (FP967 ), is not authorized for food or feed use in the European Union. The consequence is that any food product or flax seed

which is tested and is found to be positive for FP967 cannot be marketed in the European Union and there is zero tolerance. Even if a very low level of contamination is detected, the product is not acceptable in Europe. The CDC Triffid GM issue is mainly of importance if flax seed will be exported to Europe. It is additionally important in organic production systems in the US, which also have a zero tolerance regarding GM flax.


There is a genetic test available with a constructspecific method for detection of FP967. The testing method is accredited and fully validated and is available

and used by a number of testing labs both in Europe and North America. The test for the genetic modification of CDC Triffid flax was developed by Genetic

ID Laboratories in USA and Europe.


The recommended option for Canadian producers to minimize risk of growing flax contaminated with Triffid isthe planting of seed that has been tested for Triffid and shown to be negative. However, as not all seeds are tested, there is a chance that contamination is not detected. If US producers are concerned about seed contaminated with the European unapproved GM trait, they could test their seed source, but this is fairly expensive.


More information about CDC Triffid flax and testing labs can be found on the Flax Council of Canada website at www.flaxcouncil.ca/.


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