Monsanto recently received Chinese approval for Roundup Ready Xtend soybeans and is selling the variety for the 2016 season. However, the new, over-the-top use of dicamba for these Roundup Ready Xtend crops has not been approved.

What does that mean for your Roundup Ready Xtend crops? Farmers can still buy the seeds, but don’t plan to use the recommended herbicide, dicamba, to control weeds--at least right now. “We’re not sure whether approved federal and state labels will be granted in time to allow application of dicamba-containing products on these varieties during the early portion of--or perhaps even much of--the 2016 growing season,” explains Aaron Hager, University of Illinois associate professor of weed science.

Because there are no federal or state labels that allow dicamba application pre- or post-emergence, so any farmer or applicator found using the product in this way would be breaking federal and state laws.

Dicamba cannot be used pre-emergence (at planting), but it can be used prior to planting. “Remember, this type of application must follow the herbicide label guidelines regardless of the soybean variety planted,” Hager said.

While the industry waits for more information regarding federal and state approval of the new over-the-top use of dicamba, it will be important to help farmers start planning out what they can do to fight weeds in their fields. 

“The most sustainable solution to the challenges of herbicide-resistant weeds is an integrated weed management system,” Hager says. “Utilize both chemical and non-chemical tactics to eliminate weed seed production throughout the growing season.”