Monsanto expects 500,000 acres of new Xtend Flex varieties in 2015

USDA has approved Monsanto Deltapine’s new XtendFlex trait for use in cotton in 2015. But EPA has not approved the new dicamba herbicide formulations Monsanto and BASF planned to offer for cotton containing the trait.

As a result, Monsanto Deltapine officials have decided to offer new varieties containing the trait even though growers will not be able to spray them with dicamba in the 2015 growing season, a spokesman says.

“We’re thrilled that we got deregulation on the XtendFlex trait,” said Keylon Gholston, Deltapine cotton product manager, in an interview at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show. “We’re bringing that trait to the marketplace in 2015 in five commercial varieties that are currently being sold in the marketplace.”

Those include two early varieties – DP 1518 B2XF (Bollgard II, XtendFlex) and DP 1522 B2XF – two mid- to full-season varieties – DP 1538 B2XF and DP 1553 B2XF – a west Texas Arizona variety – DP 1549 B2XF.

“The two early varieties offer yields as good as or better than any of the early season varieties available in the B2RF platform,” he said, “They allow farmers another option of weed control this year of being to use both glyphosate and glufosinate. We will not be able to apply dicamba over the top of those varieties, but we are looking forward to the day we can.”

500,000 acres

Gholston said Monsanto believes growers could plant up to 500,000 acres of the new Bollgard II XtendFlex varieties in 2015. The company’s New Product Evaluator or NPE growers will also be testing at least five more B2XF varieties it could release in 2016.

While growers have been anticipating the release of the new varieties for several years, Gholston said the company is not including the new dicamba formulations it and BASF have developed for the trait in its plans for this season.

“I think our stance is that that’s probably not going to happen in time for use in 2015,” he said, referring to EPA approval of the new formulation). “From a company perspective, we have taken the stance that dicamba cannot be sprayed over the top in 2015.

“While we wish we had that label, I think the yield and quality of these new genetics, plus the added benefit of being able to use glufosinate along with Roundup is going to get these varieties on growers’ acres this year and give them a chance to look at them and then hopefully have the new label for dicamba for 2016.”

In other interviews, Monsanto officials have pledged to make sure growers and dealers understand how the new varieties and herbicides can be used in 2015.

“We are working very closely with farmers during this year’s limited introduction, and we’re taking active steps through multiple avenues to help ensure that growers and retailers are informed of this technology’s authorized and labeled use,” said Jordan Iverson, cotton traits marketing manager at Monsanto. “This new cotton technology provides farmers a tremendous value for weed control by adding tolerance to an additional, approved mode of action through Liberty herbicide. Once authorized, dicamba herbicide will deliver a third mode of action.

Tools to help

“Put simply, our mission is to offer tools that help farmers. These new varieties offer high yielding genetics and trusted insect protection, all with some of the most advanced cotton herbicide technology available to help them control tough weeds.”

Iverson said Monsanto has trained more than 7,500 growers, retail partners and stakeholders on effective and sustainable weed management systems, which includes the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System.  For more information on the Bollgard II XtendFlex system, visit www.Monsanto.com.

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