Stories | August 23, 2017
Historic Testing of Our Dicamba Formulation, XtendiMax® with VaporGrip® Technology
Farmers have told us they need new technology to help control problematic weeds. Our dicamba technology, XtendiMax® with VaporGrip® Technology, with years of evaluation, does just that. This innovative and comprehensively evaluated herbicide is an important tool for growers.
As we sought to meet farmer needs, we began development of a new formulation utilizing dicamba, an herbicide approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1967 and used by farmers for decades. EPA approved a second-generation dicamba product in 1990, following testing and evaluation, that introduced the first significant reduction in volatility potential compared to first generation products. XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology, which was approved by the EPA for over-the-top use in November 2016, then introduced a further substantial reduction in dicamba volatility potential.
XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology underwent extensive testing and evaluation leading up to its launch. The data generated confirmed the significant reduction in volatility delivered by this formulation, compared to previous generations of dicamba products.
Delivering a new dicamba formulation to the market required new testing and evaluation of older dicamba products to validate the existing data. During 2012 and 2013, academics in Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi, Indiana and Tennessee began testing a “second generation” Monsanto product called M1691 for drift and weed control. Monsanto incorporated its newly developed VaporGrip® Technology into the extensively tested M1691 product and registered this new formulation as XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology.
By adding VaporGrip Technology to M1691, volatility was further reduced by 90%, compared to second generation products like M1691 and Clarity.1
Before delivering XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology to customers, Monsanto and third-parties conducted extensive GLP testing and evaluation to confirm volatility reduction. Monsanto conducted specific volatility testing governed by new EPA protocol subject to rigorous Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) standards. GLP is the gold seal of testing as it imposes stringent, international standards that are subject to EPA oversight and severe penalties for non-compliance. These new protocols created a shift in the way Monsanto had typically worked with certain third party weed scientists. While testing on other products met all EPA standards at the time tests were conducted, these new protocols meant Monsanto had to test XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology using certified GLP labs. This new and rigorous GLP testing enabled the EPA to confirm that VaporGrip Technology was a step-change in volatility reduction compared to prior generations of dicamba products.
Testing of volatility potential on XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology took place in large-scale field trials, in greenhouse trials, and in the lab using published methodology for measuring volatility from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). This robust testing and evaluation included additional GLP-compliant studies, and over 1,200 distinct tests in controlled environments, e.g. humidome and Hoophouse, and over 25 field studies representing multiple field conditions including varying geographies, temperatures and surfaces. These studies showed consistent findings between controlled environments and field studies in various geographies. All GLP studies and additional controlled environment data was extensively reviewed by the EPA. This data was also accepted by the 33 states that approved XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology for in-crop use this season.
In an effort to share data with academics and others interested in evaluating our new product, we twice hosted weed scientists from across the country to observe large GLP volatility field trials, and hosted an academic symposium devoted exclusively to XtendiMax testing. Furthermore, this season, university weed scientists in multiple states are conducting volatility tests on XtendiMax in their regions, and their findings are expected to be available in early fall. We acknowledge there are university weed scientist that wanted additional opportunities to evaluate the product, and we will continue to look for ways to collaborate.
This season, we are continuing to work with farmers, weed scientists, applicators, retail partners, and regulators to understand what they’re seeing and what they need. We also will continue sharing additional details around our efforts to bring this new, and much-needed, technology to farmers and what efforts we’ll make to help farmers have a successful 2018 season.
1 Gavlick, W. K., Wright, D. R., MacInnes, A., Hemminghaus, J. W., Webb, J. K., Yermolenka, V. I., Su, W., “A Method to Determine the Relative Volatility of Auxin Herbicide Formulations,” Pesticide Formulation and Delivery Systems: 35th Volume, ASTM STP1587, G. R. Goss, Ed., ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2016, pp. 24-32, doi:10.1520/STP158720150006