The war on resistant and tough to control broadleaf weeds may soon have a new weapon. Monsanto recently completed key regulatory submission to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for dicamba-tolerant soybeans.
Once commercialized, the dicamba tolerantce trait is expected to be stacked with the Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield trait. Scientists at the University of Nebraska discovered the dicamba tolerance gene. Monsanto has access to it through an exclusive licensing agreement with the university announced in 2005.
Dicamba is well known to most farmers as an economical herbicide that controls a wide spectrum of broadleaf weeds. Cotton farmers are likely to see it as an option where soybean is used as a rotation crop. In the Midwest, it is expected to be an effective burn-down for control of troublesome weeds such as marestail close to or at planting. Dicamba applied post emergent will improve consistence of control in weeds like morning glory and common water hemp, says Bill Johnson, Purdue University weed scientist.
Only two weed species in the U.S. have shown resistance to dicamba and those populations are outside key soybean producing areas.
Monsanto sources say the USDA submission is a critical first step. The company has plans to seek approval for a dicamba tolerant, Roundup Ready Flex product in cotton that would offer farmers additional tools for effective weed management.
Last year, Monsanto and Germany-based BASF announced a joint-licensing agreement to accelerate the development of the next-generation of dicamba-based weed control chemistry products. The companies agreed to develop innovative formulations for dicamba for use with herbicide-tolerant cropping systems.
Listen to Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s chief technology officer discuss what’s coming in the company’s pipeline.