As most farmers worry about how to kill their resistant pig weed or water hemp, some are hoping that those worries will be a thing of the past. Monsanto came out with traits that would allow for full weed control for farmers along with proven higher yields. Now that Roundup Ready 2 XTend is in its first public growing stages, there has been good and bad circling about XTend’s traits.
When used correctly, the new traits would allow more weed control for farmers and better yields. Thomas Hermann, Seed Sales Agronomist for MFA, said, “Roundup Ready 2 XTend Technology has shown a consistent yield advantage over the competitors as well as great weed control in trials. Hopefully within the next few months we will have XTendimax with Vapor Grip technology approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and ready for in season use for the 2017 growing season.” Earlier this year the new trait for the Round Up Ready 2 Xtend had been approved in China and the EU — two of the largest importers of the United States market. The EPA is reportedly in the ending stages of their investigations.
Although hopeful of EPA’s approval, there is no guarantee when the EPA will come out with its decision. Hopefully, the EPA will deliver its decision before in-season use and that it will be a positive outcome. Until the decision comes out, technically farmers are not able to spray over the top with dicamba since no chemical dicamba spray has been approved. However, farmers can continue to spray with regular Round Up. Additionally, up until the EU approved imports of the new seed, many barges and elevators like CGB said they would not accept any from local farmers. Now that it is no longer a problem, farmers are able to take their grain wherever they want.
In the Bootheel of Missouri, they have seen the ugly. The issue stems from the new seed being approved but the new chemical spray to go along with it, has not. Unfortunately, some farmers went ahead and sprayed with the old Dicamba spray over the top — even though they had been warned of the harmful effects. The Missouri Department of Agriculture has received 125 complaints in only four counties. They normally see 75 to 80 in the whole state. When the farmers took the incorrect spray across the top — which is not allowed, the damage was massive. Over 40,000 acres of soybeans were affected by drift. That is not including other crops, such as the peaches, watermelon, tomatoes, cotton (which was not dicamba resistant), rice and others. Judy Grundler, Division Director of the Plant Industries from the Missouri Department of Agriculture, said that the investigations could result in some punishments along with restrictions of dicamba.
Hermann says, “When managed correctly with the correct chemistry, dicamba-tolerant soybeans will be able to have over-the-top applications.” Until then, anyone can use dicamba for burn down and pre-planting control.