Changes in agriculture happen on a daily basis, which is why we need to be informed on what is changing, and how it is affecting us. The use of Dicamba tolerant soybeans in 2017 is a touchy subject, and one of the biggest headlines that will be talked about in this upcoming year. One of the main companies that has engineered Dicamba tolerant soybeans is Monsanto. When looking into the soybeans, there is an abundant amount history behind the product created by Monsanto, a select purpose for it with differences from Roundup Ready 2 Soybeans, and a correct way to use it with restrictions involved.
Always changing, Soybeans are on the rise again with Monsanto creating the new Roundup Ready Xtend Soybeans with research going back to 2005. The main focus was originally on soybeans, with an interest in cotton as well. Research and engineering of the product went through many steps of progress from implanting the resistance into soybeans and working with field trials year after year until they found the right product. The latest step that was taken with the newest addition to Monsanto’s lineup was the approval process through the USDA and the approval needed for exporting the new crop. They finally received approval last year in 2016 and are ready for full retail and production in 2017.
With the need for more tactics to control pests that make it easy for the farmers to use, Monsanto has introduced the Dicamba into the Roundup Ready Soybean line. Many of the issues you hear in the agriculture community is two weeds that are in the same family. One of those weeds are commonly known as Waterhemp, which has been an increasing problem with resistance to glyphosate, which was originally used for Roundup Ready 2 Soybeans. The other problem weed is known as Palmer Amaranth which looks very similar to Waterhemp in many ways, but has been resistant to glyphosate for many more years. With the introduction of Dicamba tolerant soybeans, the farmer can now control these two super weeds, with the need to follow guidelines so resistance does not occur like they saw with glyphosate.
When farmers first get the chance to use Dicamba this year and possibly years in the future, they must understand there is many strict guidelines and restrictions you must follow. The reasoning for all the regulations and rules is to ensure the proper usage of the chemical, and to prevent any issues that could occur if not properly used. According to Roundup Ready’s website, there is a list they have you can follow to make sure you or others are following the right instructions on how to handle, mix, and apply Dicamba. The main reason you mixers, loaders, and applicators must follow the set rules, is because there are many susceptible crops you could damage down wind, sensitive areas that you cannot spray next to, and Dicamba is proven to have volatility issues even with Vapor Grip technology. For many of the reasons I just listed, there are buffers you must use, specialty spray tips, certain ground speed, and certain pressures you will have to be in compliance with. Overall, once you get into the habit of correct handling, mixing, and application of Dicamba it will simple to use as any of our other products.
Photo Credit: Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System
Dicamba soybeans in my opinion are a positive to the agricultural economy in many ways. It helps with the weed problems we are starting to see here in Illinois and across many of the states. The main concept I believe we need to focus on is the proper usage of the newly labeled product so we do not cause problems down the road. I personally will be involved with the new product this year on my personal farm, and look forward to see many results from across the state.
I am Michael Houston, a junior at Western Illinois University from Golden, Illinois. I am currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture Business with a Minor in Agronomy. I have background with my local FS, which I gained experience with the new product line Monsanto is offering, and work on my family farm which will be dealing with all Xtend Soybeans in 2017. I am extremely passionate about the future of agriculture not only for my farm but all farms across the states.
Sources: Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System https://www.roundupreadyxtend.com/Pages/default.aspx