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EPA Registers Low-Volatile Dicamba Formulation

Monsanto’s Xtendimax with Vapor Grip Technology is set for use on Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in 2017.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a new low-volatile dicamba formulation that will be teamed with dicamba-tolerant soybeans.

Xtendimax with Vapor Grip Technology is one of the dicamba formulations that will accompany Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant soybeans, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, in the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System. It’s set for use during the 2017 growing season.

High volatility has historically been one of dicamba’s drawbacks. However, the Xtendimax formulation has been designed for low volatility for use in dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybeans, say Monsanto officials.

“It is basically a step change in lowering volatility potential compared with current (dicamba) technology,” says Ryan Rubischko, Monsanto North America dicamba portfolio lead. “There is no publically stated metric, but it is a significant reduction compared to current formulations.”

Two other new low-volatility dicamba formulations are also in the works. Monsanto’s Roundup Xtend with Vapor Grip Technology, is a premix of low-volatile dicamba and glyphosate, pending EPA approval. BASF is also working on another new low-volatile dicamba formulation called Engenia, pending EPA approval.

Rubischko says Monsanto is now working on gaining state approval for Xtendimax.

Rubischko says the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System combines the latest Roundup Ready 2 Xtend genetics with the new dicamba formulations.

“We feel there is great value with Xtendimax with Vapor Grip Technology to provide a low-volatility dicamba option for tough-to-control weed populations including waterhemp, marestail, and ragweed species,” says Rubischko.

He adds that these new low-volatile dicamba formulations provide up to 14 days soil residual. He says preemergence herbicides in the Roundup Ready Plus platform can complement the new postemergence dicamba formulations.

Why It Started

Following Chinese approval last February, Monsanto released Xtend varieties for planting in 2016. Earlier this year, dicamba damaged thousands of nondicamba-tolerant soybean acres in the bootheel of Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Complaints in these states center around the allegation that existing formulations of dicamba not labeled for use on Xtend soybeans — such as Banvel and Clarity — moved into and injured neighboring non-Xtend soybeans and vegetable crops. Over-the-top applications of these existing dicamba formulations on Xtend soybeans are off-label and illegal.

Last month, a dispute over off-target movement of dicamba has prompted a killing in Arkansas. KAIT-TV news, a Jonesboro, Arkansas, ABC affiliate, reported that Mississippi County, Arkansas, Sheriff Dale Cook confirmed a Thursday shooting near Leachville, Arkansas. Cook said the shooting was due to an argument over dicamba drift. Sheriff Cook said Mike Wallace was shot to death following the argument with Allan Curtis Jones.

Monsanto officials declined comment on the shooting. They did say that the reason Monsanto launched Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans last February was to provide the latest genetics to farmers.

“Now that we have approval from EPA for Xtendimax, it provides us with a greater opportunity to further educate farmers and applicators on appropriate requirements associated with our label,” says Rubischko. “We feel that Xtendimax with Vapor Grip Technology can provide farmers with a positive experience moving forward.”

To reduce off-target movement, Monsanto officials also recommend the following management steps for use with Xtendimax herbicide:
• No use of ammonium sulfate (AMS) as an adjuvant.
• Use of low-volatile nozzles and associated pressure guidelines with those nozzles.
• Wind speed guidelines.
• Guidelines for spraying near specialty crops.

“We now have approval for the (Xtendimax) label in hand, and we can continue our efforts to relay application requirements and label instructions to make sure farmers understand how to handle the chemistry with best management practices,” says Kyel Richard, Monsanto product communication lead. 

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