Can I save and plant Roundup Ready® soybean seed from my harvest?
Now that the U.S. patent on the original Roundup Ready soybean trait has expired, there are changes to what kind of seeds U.S. growers can legally save and plant. But because patent law and seed technology is complicated, figuring out which seeds can be legally saved and planted is complicated too. We've created a decision tree to help navigate this question — just click on the below box to view it. Need more information? Your seed dealer is another resource for information about a particular seed variety.
Even if you can legally save and plant soybean seed, it may not make economic sense to do so. A lot of variables go into determining whether it makes sense for you to save and plant seed, or buy new seed. In most cases and for most farms, saving seed may not be the most profitable option.
Lost Income Opportunity
- Needless to say, every bushel of saved seed you plant is a bushel you’re not selling as commodity grain. Whether or not that makes economic sense will depend on current commodity prices.
Added Operational Costs
- Saved seed will need to be cleaned before planting, which is an added expense.
- Treating your seeds will add costs because it must be done by a seed supplier in accordance with regulatory and legal obligations.
- Storing seeds under the precise conditions that maximize yield potential can be expensive. Seeds that haven’t been stored in these precise conditions are unlikely to perform as well as seed of the same variety that you purchased from a seed company that uses quality control standards for storage. The difference can be several bushels per acre.
- If you are not treating your seed, you are likely to sacrifice yield opportunity.
- Newer technologies have been developed that result in higher yields. Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Yield® varieties yield on average >4 bushels more per acre than competitors' most recently released Roundup Ready varieties and a >3 bushels more per acre advantage over LibertyLink®.
Can I legally save seed in the U.S.?
Does the seed contain the original Roundup Ready trait or
the new higher-yielding trait technology of Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield?
Cannot be saved and planted.
Is there another patent on this seed variety?
You will need a special license from the patent owner in order to save and plant. The license for the initial planting of seed you purchased usually does not include the right to save and plant seed from your harvest. Make sure your license includes this right.
You may save and plant these soybeans. But note that we expect few current commercial varieties will fall into this category. If the variety is covered by a PVP or breeder's rights certificate (and it probably is) then if you save and plant these soybeans, the seed can only be planted in fields that you own or operate, and the seed you plant must have come from fields that you owned or operated. You cannot provide seed to neighbors or obtain seed from neighbors for planting.
You should treat the seed as not savable because it is likely protected by a variety patent that has not yet expired. If you want to save the seed, you should do further research with your seed dealer and/or the breeder to determine whether the seed is covered by any other intellectual property before saving and planting.
Check with your seed dealer or breeder to find out if the seed is covered by any patents (such as a variety patent). If so, then you will need a license from the patent owner to save and plant seed of that variety.