Monsanto, BASF To Advance Dicamba Tolerant Cropping System

BASF and Monsanto Co. have formed a new agreement to collaborate on the advancement of dicamba tolerant cropping systems. The companies have granted reciprocal licenses, and BASF has agreed to supply formulated dicamba herbicide products to Monsanto.

The agreement will facilitate further development work and subsequent commercialization of a dicamba tolerant system, which includes innovative dicamba formulations proprietary to BASF and the dicamba tolerant trait for soybeans, which is proprietary to Monsanto. The system is expected to be introduced in the U.S. and Canada in the middle of the decade, pending regulatory approvals.

Both Monsanto and BASF will have the right to commercialize new dicamba herbicide formulations optimized for use with dicamba tolerant crops and the right to develop their own mixtures with certain herbicides. In addition, the two companies will collaborate on the development of stewardship guidelines and best management practices for the dicamba tolerant system. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.

“The introduction of dicamba tolerant crops combined with improved dicamba formulations will provide farmers the tools they need to combat the yield-robbing weed resistance some are facing in their fields today,” said Markus Heldt, President of BASF’s Crop Protection division. “Since the introduction of Clarity in 1992, BASF has continually improved its dicamba offerings. Our next generation products will offer yet another step change in volatility reduction while maintaining the highest level of weed control. The system, along with proper stewardship measures, will ultimately deliver peace of mind for growers.”

“We are committed to providing farmers with the weed management tools they need to be successful,” said Robb Fraley, Monsanto’s chief technology officer. “Our work with BASF brings us one step closer to bringing more improved weed control offerings to farmers. We expect the formulations to be an excellent complement to Monsanto’s dicamba tolerant seed technologies when they are brought to market.”

Upon commercialization, the dicamba tolerance trait is expected to be stacked with the high yielding Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybean trait. Monsanto also has corn, cotton and canola dicamba tolerant crops in its research and development pipeline. These next-generation technologies are aimed at offering farmers multiple modes of action and superior application timing flexibility in combating weeds.

In November 2010, Monsanto and BASF published favorable results of joint field testing of new dicamba-based formulations with Monsanto’s next-generation dicamba tolerant soybeans. The new formulations demonstrated excellent weed control and crop safety. BASF, the world’s leading chemical company, and Monsanto, the world’s leading agriculture technology company, first announced a joint licensing agreement to develop innovative formulations for dicamba for use with herbicide-resistant cropping systems in January 2009. The two companies also have an established R&D collaboration to develop other new trait technologies for farmers.

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