Stories | March 12, 2018 | Read Time: 5 minutes
An Open Letter to Our Farmer-Customers: Continuing to Prepare for the 2018 Season
The days are growing longer – which means soybean planting for the 2018 growing season is only a few weeks away in parts of the United States. Cotton is already in the ground in some areas. As we prepare for this season, I wanted to share another update on our preparations for this season with the Roundup Ready® Xtend Crop System (System).
First and foremost, thousands of applicators and growers have already completed the mandatory training that is required for all applicators of all dicamba formulations registered for in-crop use, including XtendiMax® with VaporGrip® Technology (XtendiMax), under the new federal Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) label. XtendiMax is registered for in-crop use in 33 states. In 27 of the states, Monsanto is providing training sessions as requested by the states. The other states have specified that university or state officials are providing the training. Monsanto has already trained more than 26,000 applicators at more than 400 training sessions – and we have numerous additional trainings scheduled in the months ahead.
If you haven’t already completed training, visit roundupreadyxtend.com/training today to find information about Monsanto or university training near you. Also, please note that the new RUP designation limits sale and use to certified applicators or, in some states, to those acting under the supervision of a certified applicator, depending on state law. More details at xtendimaxapplicationrequirements.com.
Monsanto has also developed and launched a computer-based training module that covers the material presented in the in-person trainings. This online learning module is now available at roundupreadyxtend.com and is offered in both English and Spanish. Please note that the computer-based training module is accepted as mandatory training only in certain states; please check our website to determine whether your state accepts the module as completion of the mandatory training requirement.
At Commodity Classic in late February, we launched the new RRXtend Spray App, an exciting new tool that will help applicators and growers plan their applications by predicting weather conditions and inversion risk for their fields. Using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the app provides location-specific weather forecasts, digital record-keeping capabilities, and educational resources related to the System. The free app is now available for download on the Apple App Store and on Google Play. The app has already been downloaded more than 3,600 times and has a 4.6 out of 5 star rating in the App Store!
We’re also working closely with the academic community to continue our research regarding effective management and use of dicamba technology. During the U.S. winter season, we worked with academics in the U.S. and teams in Australia to conduct an extensive field trial in Australia under strict scientific processes. These rigorous and thorough studies were designed with academic collaborators and we will be publishing those results as soon as they are available. We’re also providing grants and sponsorships to many Land Grant Universities across the 34 soybean- and cotton-producing states to support crop protection research, education, and understanding of dicamba technology. Many of these collaborations will be designed to support the continued education of new scientists. We value these multi-year support opportunities to help train and educate the next generation of researchers and scientists who will continue to advance modern agriculture.
We continue to communicate with state regulators on important questions from the 2017 season, including questions regarding the scope of potential illegal use of older, higher-volatility formulations in certain areas in 2017. For instance, data now suggest that older formulations could have been used illegally on up to almost 50 percent of acres in Arkansas last season. It is critically important that only the new, legally approved, low-volatility dicamba formulations be used in-crop, and that applicators closely read and follow label instructions when using this important new technology. It is also critically important that applicators understand and follow all state-specific requirements and restrictions on use of the new low-volatility dicamba formulations. In Arkansas, for example, these products may not be used from April 16 to October 31. Also, we have collaborated with retailers on best management practices when mixing and handling XtendiMax, including detailed equipment cleanout and overall spraying system hygiene.
Growers continue to communicate the importance of this new technology and their excitement for the varieties, yield potential, and weed-control benefits offered by the System. Our sales data continue to indicate that Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans will be planted on even more acres this year – which is a clear testament to the value growers are seeing in this new technology.
We will continue to communicate with growers and applicators, academics, regulators, the media, and other stakeholders throughout the season. And we will ensure our customers have the support they need to be successful at each stage of the season.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 1-844-RRXTEND or roundupreadyxtend.com with any questions. We’re committed to making 2018 an even more successful season for our customers.
Chief Technology Officer