News | December 1, 2017 | Read Time: 5 minutes
An Open Letter to Our Farmer-Customers: Looking to 2018
As we near the end of harvest and the 2017 season, I wanted to connect with you again and share some additional insights about the performance of the Roundup Ready® Xtend Crop System this year and our plans as we look ahead to 2018.
With harvest nearly complete in most states, the vast majority of our customers continue to report success with the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System. Here are a few highlights:
- Soybean growers surveyed who applied XtendiMax® with VaporGrip® Technology are reporting 97 percent weed control satisfaction.
- Yield performance is very strong, and Monsanto’s 2017 systems trials preliminary results show the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System has a 5.7 Bu./A. average advantage vs. the LibertyLink® System.1
- Additionally, in 2017, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® soybeans and cotton with XtendFlex® Technology were grown on more than 26 million acres in the U.S. Current customer demand indicates we are on track to almost double the number of acres planted in 2018.
While we’re pleased with what we’re seeing from harvest and early customer orders, it wasn’t that long ago that our agronomic professionals were visiting with every customer who inquired about possible off-target movement related to dicamba. Across the 33 states where our product was sold, we received a total of 1,467 applicator inquiries. Here’s what we learned:
- In 91 percent of the cases evaluated, applicators self-reported errors with respect to one or more label requirements that could have contributed to off-target movement.
- The most common self-reported errors were improper buffers, tank mixes, and nozzle selection or spray pressure as well as wrong boom height.
- Recent data from BASF also indicates that illegal use of older, higher-volatility dicamba formulations was likely a significant factor this season, particularly in Arkansas.
Fortunately, many growers who experienced early season leaf cupping symptoms in their soybean fields have reported strong harvest yields. In fact, the USDA is predicting high, if not record, soybean yields in a number of states, including Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Looking toward 2018, we remain confident in the science behind XtendiMax and the technology contained in this low-volatile formulation to not impact yield of susceptible crops outside the application area when the product is used according to label instructions. Based on our 2017 experience and our field visits, we know that training and following label instructions are critical for success in 2018 and beyond – as they are with any pesticide application.
The positive impact of training and education was evident this year in Georgia, where growers reported zero (0) off-target movement inquiries to the state. This impressive track record was only possible because of a significant investment of time and energy in a robust training program by academics and growers alike in Georgia. We’re confident that with enhanced training and education in 2018, growers in every state will be even more successful.
To this end, we worked with the U.S. EPA to update the XtendiMax label to enhance requirements around training and recordkeeping, and we added a Restricted Use Pesticide (RUP) designation. The enhanced label provides, among other updates:
- Mandatory Training: Mandatory training can be completed a few ways, depending on what’s required within an individual state.2 We’ve developed a robust training that covers application requirements, recordkeeping, susceptible/sensitive crops, application windows and understanding inversions, among other topics. We’re working with the Departments of Agriculture in individual states to determine how best to deliver the training and fulfill state requirements. Look for available training dates and locations on RoundupReadyXtend.com soon.
- Recordkeeping Requirements: We’ve developed a form growers can print and complete to track recordkeeping requirements like susceptible crop awareness, nozzles, and application timing, among others. Our teams can help answer questions as you complete this form.
- Restricted Use Pesticide: As an RUP product, the sale and use of XtendiMax is limited to certified applicators or those acting under their supervision. Check with your state for state-specific requirements.
For 2018, we’re also distributing spray nozzles at no cost; setting up a technical support call center to help applicators easily access information on application requirements and best management practices; developing a spray app to help applicators avoid problematic weather conditions; and exploring a tank clean-out system designed to reduce sprayer contamination. We’ll continue to offer an incentive of up to $6 per acre when applying XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology through Roundup Ready PLUS® Crop Management Solutions.
As our customers, we appreciate the trust you put in us. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions, needs and feedback. We’ll keep working to earn your business by delivering tools to make each season more successful than the last.
Chief Technology Officer
2 Check with your state for any specific requirements regarding training provider or method