In a long-awaited announcement, the European Union Monday stated it would approve Bayer’s XtendFlex soybeans for import. These multi-biotech traited soybeans feature tolerance to glyphosate, dicamba and glufosinate.
With EU's approveal, Bayer plans for a full launch of XtendFlex soybeans in 2021. They will launch the product in the U.S. and Canada and is ready to supply 20 million acres of the product.
“We’ve seen great demand for XtendFlex soybeans from our customers,” said Lisa Streck, Bayer soybean launch lead in a recent press release. “Based on that demand, we’ve developed a supply plan to meet the market demand in 2021, across all maturities, Bayer brands and licensees. We expect the launch of XtendFlex to match the launch scale of Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, which were planted on 20 million acres in their first year of commercial availability. This technology offers outstanding yield potential and weed control flexibility that will benefit soybean farmers across the U.S.”
This announcement likely comes as a relief to the company. Not only have they waited years for the news, with a shaky future for the XtendiMax dicamba product, the partner to Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, this gives farmers another seed and herbicide option.
***Updated 9:44 with comments from Lisa Streck
Money-Back Guarantee for Dicamba
One major question on farmers’ minds as they make seed purchases that include dicamba tolerances is: will I be able to apply dicamba with it? EPA is still in the decision making process on whether or not the product will be approved for over-the-top use.
“We’re going to continue to support farmers that use the system, and we’re going to give the a seed unit price reduction if they purchased Xtend seed if XtendiMax isn’t available for use in 2021,” says Alex Zenteno, Bayer dicamba product manager. “If they purchase cotton, they get a $40 unit reduction. Depending on if they purchase XtendFlex versus Xtend, they get a $3 to $7 unit reduction.”
Farmers will receive this guarantee if EPA doesn’t approve the XtendiMax product altogether, or if the decision doesn’t come before Feb. 20, 2021.
“This is very significant because this program is very costly but we feel really strongly about the regulatory process that we’re going towards with EPA,” Zenteno says. “We should have registration in a pretty timely manner.”