ST. LOUIS, Mo.—Monsanto expects to introduce the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans and Roundup Xtend herbicide to a limited number of soybean growers for 2013.

“Our target is to have a Groundbreakers’ program next year, 2013,” said Roy Fuchs, Monsanto, global oilseeds technology lead. The company’s Groundbreaker programs are where selected farmers are provided with new traited seed and/or herbicides to field test the products on their farms before full launch of any product. Information learned in the farmer fields cannot be learned in research plots. The Roundup Ready Xtend Groundbreaker will be used “to finalize our recommendations for weed control for a full launch in 2014,” Fuchs said.

Monsanto refers to the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System as a singular product. “This product is a combination of a new biotech seed component as well as new chemistry,” Fuchs explained.

The Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans will have stacked trait resistance to both glyphosate and dicamba herbicides, and the Roundup Xtend herbicide will be a combination of glyphosate and a new low volatility dicamba, developed in conjunction with BASF. The combination is “intended to control hard-to-control weeds that Roundup might not be perfect in controlling as well as any weeds that might be resistant to glyphosate,” Fuchs noted. Neither the seed trait or the herbicide trait have been registered yet.

The system will provide “better and more consistent weed control, more flexibility for weed control, the opportunity for extended residual activity because dicamba has residual activity, greater application and planting flexibility where it can be used either preplant or postplant, peace of mind in having a low volatility formulation and reducing the likelyhood of off-site movement,” Fuchs explained at a media event in St. Louis. “We feel like dicamba and Roundup combined provide an excellent system for weed control across the United States.”

“If we go back 10 years, we were looking really hard at what our next generation of weed control product would be,” Fuchs said. The company was looking at potential stacking of traits with chemistry on the market, which included dicamba and 2,4-D.

“We decided dicamba was our product of choice for a number of reasons,” he said. “One, it controls more weeds than 2,4-D globally. Two, there are less weeds today that are resistant to dicamba than 2,4-D, and no weeds are resistant to both dicamba and glyphosate. It has better tankmix capabilities with glyphosate, and it has residual control where 2,4-D doesn’t. And we are working on an even longer residual control.”

Fuchs said, “We have a collaboration with BASF that we’ve been in for quite some time to try and develop an improved formulation of dicamba. You may remember some of the old formulations of dicamba—Banvel—20 to 30 years ago. There were concerns about off-site movement.”

Fuchs suggested that assigning Banvel a volatility, off-site movement potential of 100 percent then the new formulation of dicamba developed by BASF would have a relative rating of a 1 percent or 2 percent rating. “It is a massive change in terms of quality of the product, and we are looking at launching a premix of Roundup and dicamba with the low volatility to make sure the product stays where it is sprayed and reduces the likelihood off-site movement,” he said.

“We have made tremendous progress in both the biotech as well as the chemistry coming together for the launch of this (Roundup Ready Xtends Crop System) product.”