Benefits of Xtendflex System

Nov 01, 2020

          Xtendflex got full import approval a while back, but with the fate of over the top Dicamba application still up in the air, there wasn’t a big buzz around it.  Now that we have an over the top label, it’s a good time to talk about what benefits Xtendflex soybeans bring us.  Xtendflex, if you don’t know, is a trait package that allows us to spray glyphosate (Roundup), glufosinate (Liberty), and dicamba in season.  With the calendar date cutoffs on dicamba, having the ability to come in late season with glufosinate is a big deal.  It’s especially good timing with the increase of waterhemp we’ve seen in the region.  Dicamba has been providing great weed management in recent years and we’ve really seen it on the kochia.  However, many people forget dicamba resistant kochia was confirmed back in the mid 90’s in Montana and has been seen in small populations throughout Nebraska, Colorado, Idaho, and North Dakota since.  Dicamba carries a poor to excellent rating on pigweed species, which includes redroot pigweed, waterhemp, and palmer amaranth.  The point being dicamba is a great tool but isn’t the juggernaut that some believe.
          Utilizing the Liberty piece will be essential to weed management in the future as weeds are ever evolving.  This stack of traits presents some logistical challenges though.  Dicamba applications are legally bound to high water volumes, big spray droplets, and no AMS.  Two of those three things don’t work at all for Liberty applications and really aren’t the best for Roundup applications either, but that’s for another day.  Liberty, as I’m sure most of you know, is a contact killer.  This is why we need small droplets and high-water volumes to ensure we get good plant coverage.  Liberty needs AMS for similar reasons as Roundup, the active ingredient is antagonized by hard water cations such as calcium, potassium, sodium, iron, and magnesium.  The sulfate in AMS binds with these cations while the ammonium binds to glufosinate and increases plant absorption.  A couple reasons why we need higher AMS rates with Liberty than Roundup is because it’s not translocated throughout the plant and we need to maintain the concentration levels of AMS in the spray solution with the increased water volume.  If you plan to plant Xtendflex soybeans this coming year, make sure you’re keeping these differences in mind.  You will have to use either AMS or a different water conditioner and different nozzles for your Liberty application versus your dicamba application.  Another important note is the use of oil adjuvants with Liberty.  NDSU studies have shown that the use of oil adjuvants with Liberty applications have antagonized Liberty.  This is something that I don’t think is common knowledge and should be kept in mind if you want to maximize efficiency.
          I’m sure you are curious about yields from Xtendflex soybeans.  All we have is plot data and we all know plot results don’t always transfer to field results.  In Answer plots this year across the region, Xtendflex yielded similar to Xtend or Enlist varieties.  When new traits are being bred, they usually shoot for yield first and then breed in the PRR tolerance and IDC tolerance etc.  The disease tolerance is usually what limits the field scale yield the first couple years, but the genetic potential is there.
          We are in the age of weed management, not weed control.  Its important to have a weed management plan to maximize efficiency every pass across the field.  Preventative treatments will always put you in a better position for weed management than rescue treatments.  If you want more information about Xtendflex soybeans or need help putting a weed management plan together, give your local Allied Agronomy agronomist a call.

This article is an opinion and is not a base used to make trading decisions.  Allied Companies or the author is not liable for trading decisions made based on the above article.  Xtendflex and Roundup is a trademark of Bayer Crop Science.  Liberty is a trademark of BASF.

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