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Xtend soybeans nearing market release

Growers can order these now, and keep their discounts if Monsanto’s plans fall through

Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans will be available to order in Canada this fall, though approval for the dicamba and glyphosate tolerance trait is still pending from the European Union and China.

The product will be released in the United States and Canada only after full approval is achieved from key soybean importing nations.

“We received positive scientific approval from the European Food Safety Authority, so we expect that will happen before the end of the year,” says Bill Sherk, crop protection business lead for Monsanto Canada. “We’ve been working with those regulatory bodies and answering questions and things are moving through the processes.”

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A Monsanto spokesperson said in September that RR2Y Xtend Soybean seed will be available for pre-order this fall. If commercialization is not yet in place by 2016, growers can purchase a replacement RR2Y variety at their original discounts.

China’s regulatory system presents a challenge for approval, says Sherk. “China is unique because the crop has to be first planted and grown in China (before approval is granted). Their regulatory bodies do the planting at specific geographies approved for that crop. So that will always present a delay after Canadian registration.”

Sherk says there are 10 or 12 events from various countries and companies that are currently awaiting regulatory approval from China. “It’s really part of the regulatory process. They’ve had a new government come into play and they’re just revising how they operate,” he says.

Combined modes of action

RR2Y Xtend Soybeans are being marketed as part of a complete “cropping system” that is intended to offer increased yields and improved weed control.

Monsanto’s XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology is a dicamba straight-goods with low volatility properties. VaporGrip Technology, according to Monsanto’s Xtend product specifications, is a component of Monsanto’s dicamba formulations, and is designed to prevent the formation of dicamba acid in solution, which can volatilize when it combines with free hydrogen ions.

Roundup Xtend with VaporGrip Technology, which is awaiting regulatory approval under Canada’s Pest Control Products Act, is a glyphosate (Group 9) and dicamba (Group 4) pre-mix product with low volatility properties that is intended to provide growers with an additional broad-spectrum weed control option.

The Xtend cropping system combines tolerance to dicamba (which controls broad-leafed weeds) and glyphosate. The dual modes of action are designed to slow the development of resistance in invasive weeds.

“When you combine two modes of action you get a fairly robust herbicide package that should be durable and last for a number of years,” says Sherk.

However, Monsanto is encouraging farmers to use an additional mode of action when possible. “Where you have a glyphosate tolerant weed, you’re down to the dicamba. In the west, that’s kochia, and it’s fleabane in the east,” Sherk says.

“We’d recommend another herbicide in addition to the dicamba to stop the spread of glyphosate resistant weeds. There are a number of products we would recommend — BASF Canada’s Heat, Authority from FMC. It really depends on the geography and the weeds.”

Sherk says field trials have shown the new cropping system to be highly effective in Western Canada. “On average, we’ve seen a two-bushel yield increase due to killing weeds earlier,” he says. “And dicamba has a residual action — two weeks after the day you spray.”

Sherk has a word of advice for growers looking to use the RR2 Soybean Xtend cropping system near other fields. “If farmers are growing Xtend on one field and RR2Y on the adjacent field, the Xtend could damage the RR2Y soybeans. So farmers will have to be careful they don’t hang their boom over neighbouring fields,” he says. “Make sure the spray application goes where you intend it to go.”

Monsanto is recommending specific nozzle sizes to eliminate small droplets that could drift, and recommending certain boom heights and boom speeds to make sure the product goes where it is intended to go.

“Follow the label,” saysSherk.

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Julienne Isaacs

Julienne Isaacs is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer and editor. Contact her at [email protected]

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