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Why Monsanto Says It Moved Forward With Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans

Demand for these varieties were high, says Monsanto.

Off-target movement of dicamba has damaged thousands of soybean acres in the bootheel of Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee. The damage is linked to Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans that tolerate dicamba.

Following Chinese approval last February, Monsanto released Xtend varieties for planting in 2016. These soybeans tolerate both glyphosate and dicamba applications.

However, federal regulators did not approve a key link of this system — new dicamba formulations low in volatility potential. Existing dicamba formulations could not be used on Xtend soybeans in 2016.

However, complaints in these states are centered around the allegation that existing formulations of dicamba not labeled for use on Xtend soybeans — such as Banvel and Clarity — have moved into and injured neighboring non-Xtend soybeans and vegetable crops.

Herbicide Component Not Approved

Earlier in the growing season, a number of elevators refused to accept Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, citing lack of European Union (EU) approval. EU approval did occur this summer.

However, federal regulators have not yet approved Monsanto’s Roundup Xtend and Roundup XtendiMax and BASF’s Engenia herbicides. All are new dicamba formulations with low volatility potential specially designed for the Xtend dicamba-tolerant system.

That’s not the case with existing formulations of dicamba, such as ones contained in Banvel and Clarity, though. Over-the-top applications of existing dicamba formulations on Xtend soybeans are off-label and illegal, says Kyel Richard, Monsanto product communication lead.

“Monsanto doesn’t condone the illegal use of any herbicide or pesticide for any reason,” says Richard. “When we launched (Roundup Ready2 Xtend soybeans), we made it very clear it is against the law to apply (existing formulations of) dicamba over the top.”

Why Release Them?

“We had been working on these varieties for several years,” Richard says. “Growers had seen them in plots, and in some cases on their farms, and wanted to have the opportunity to plant them. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans have the latest genetics, and we wanted to give farmers the option to plant them this year.”

He adds a number of legal herbicides to use on these soybeans were provided through Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Plus Weed Management Solutions platform.

Herbicide Component Approval Expected in 2017

Monsanto expects federal regulators to approve its new dicamba formulations that are low in volatility later this summer or in early fall, says Richard. This will be too late for 2016, but in time for the 2017 growing season.

“We will be working even harder to ensure growers use the proper requirements that are part of this system,” says Richard. “Education will continue to be a big part of it, in working with growers and applicators to minimize off-target movement.”

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