Monsanto is still confident Canadian farmers will be able to plant Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans this spring, but seed dealers and partners are working diligently on Plan B to ensure seed alternatives.
The company continues to hold hope that it will receive European Union (EU) approval for the glyphosate and dicamba tolerant soybeans in time for 2016 planting. But with April days slipping away and planting season looming, seed companies are talking with farmers about options.
Monsanto spokesperson Trish Jordan says the company is in continuous communication with seed partners and its DeKalb dealer network. “Many dealers we have spoken to in southwestern Ontario have told us they are prepared to wait before making any decisions about switching as their customers want access to RR 2 Xtend.”
“We are encouraging dealers to consider reviewing their RR 2 Xtend customer orders and identify Roundup Ready 2 Yield options to ensure they have the products available for their customers prior to planting season in the event the approval does not come prior to planting,” notes Jordan.
Jordan says Monsanto will not be setting a ‘drop dead’ date that would effectively scrub the launch of Xtend for 2016. In the case of DeKalb, it will be up to dealers and farmers to determine how long they are willing to wait for Xtend based on estimated planting dates, planting progress and the company’s ability to get seed on farm quickly should approval be granted.
Pride Seeds national sales manager Doug Alderman says his company is cued up and confident they can meet demand for Xtend soybeans should they be approved. He says Pride dealers are reaching out to farmers who have ordered Xtend and asking them to review their planting plans so they can make a timely decision to switch to RR2 Yield products if necessary.
“There’s still confidence that we could get approval, but there’s also caution,” says Alderman. “If it doesn’t come to fruition, we have to make sure our customers are equipped and have seed to plant.”
Alderman says farmers can work though a simple planting scenario to get a good sense of when they need to make switching decisions.
If farmers have ordered Xtend seed, Alderman says they should be looking at the earliest date they can plant and work back from there. “If growers are targeting May 1 they then need to determine when they want their seed on-farm. If they want it in the shed two or three days before planting, they then need to remember they should give their seed company a week to deliver. That means the grower has to make their decision to switch to RR 2 Yield on April 21.”
For seed companies the challenge is “we can’t do it overnight. We’re going to rely on the grower to make the call. We can switch them out to RR 2 Yield and go from there,” says Alderman.