Setting the table for altered feed

US - Renessen LLC, a joint venture of Monsanto Co. and Cargill Inc., is preparing to market the first crop genetically engineered for animal feed.

The product, corn that carries added lysine in each kernel, should reach poultry and swine producers in the U.S. and Argentina in 2007 or 2008, the company said. It is meant to replace synthetic supplements of lysine, an essential amino acid, that producers now buy and mix into feed.

It also is the first big commercial launch for Renessen, which has digested nearly $444.5 million in investment from its co-owners but has yet to produce a return. Creve Coeur-based Monsanto and Minneapolis-based Cargill have said they fully support the joint venture and knew it would involve a lot of research and development expense before a payday.

Still, they reorganized the company last year, reducing Bannockburn, Ill.-based Renessen's staff to 44 from 66 at a cost of nearly $2 million. In March, five more people were shaved, and the company recorded another $1 million in charges, according to Monsanto's annual report.

calendar icon 17 November 2005
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