China Approves Dicamba

New Soybean Trait Launch

Pam Smith
By  Pam Smith , Crops Technology Editor
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Dicamba-tolerant soybeans will be available in 2016, but growers are still waiting on the herbicide component of the technology package. (DTN photo by Pamela Smith)

DECATUR, Ill. (DTN) -- Monsanto Co. has received Chinese import approval for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans and has announced plans to commercially launch the trait in 2016. The genetically engineered (GE) trait technology allows soybeans to tolerate applications of dicamba and glyphosate herbicide.

Last fall Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer announced they would allow preorders for new Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans. The dicamba trait has been deregulated in the United States and Canada, but the company had withheld commercial approval because of the importance of China to the U.S. soybean export market.

Having cleared this major hurdle, the company now awaits clearance of an herbicide component of the trait system from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). BASF also has a low-volatility formulation of dicamba called Engenia that awaits EPA registration. In 2015, Monsanto released their dicamba cotton equivalent called Bollgard II Xtend Flex to cotton growers without a dicamba product to use over the top in order to get germplasm into the marketplace.

In a news release, Monsanto President and Chief Operating Officer Brett Begemann indicated the technology has been a decade in development. He said Monsanto's Asgrow, Channel and regional brands, along with Corn States licensees, expect to introduce more than 70 soybean products across eight maturity groups with agronomic traits including resistance to nematodes and phytophthora root rot. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans are broadly licensed to more than 100 seed brands.

Miriam Paris, Monsanto U.S. soybean marketing manager, said demand for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans has been strong. "To date, we've had significant pre-orders from farmers and are excited to move forward with commercialization," she said.

When the dicamba herbicides receive EPA approvals, the new low-volatility dicamba technologies will take an adjustment in application techniques by growers and custom applicators, according to Bob Wolf, who has been teaching growers and retailers about the changes through a BASF-sponsored On Target Academy for the past few years. Properly selecting and calibrating nozzles, wind speed, ground speed, boom height, weed height and use of drift reduction agents must all be considered, Wolf has told DTN in previous interviews. Buffer zones are also part of the stewardship program to protect sensitive areas from drift.

Several other corn and soybean traits still await China acceptance. Monsanto spokesperson John Combest told DTN by email that the company had also received import approvals for soybeans enriched with steridonic acid (SDA). Dow AgroSciences' Enlist Weed Control System, that allows crops to tolerate new formulations of 2,4-D, also waits in the wings. Syngenta is also awaiting a nod on their Duracade products, which contain proteins that protect against corn rootworm feeding.

More information about Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans and the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System can be found at…

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Pam Smith