As the 2019 planting season approaches, Bayer Crop Science wants to ensure farmers and ag professionals are well equipped with all the necessary dicamba-related tools they’ll need for a successful crop year. They’re delivering those resources in person, at more than 600 training sessions across the United States this winter, and online, through their website, RoundupReadyXtend.com.
What’s Being Offered
This marks the second year that dicamba training is being required by the Environmental Protection Agency. The federal agency made the announcement in the fall of 2018 when they extended the label registration for Bayer’s XtendiMax® herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology through the 2020 growing season.
“Those farmers and applicators with the necessary certification, who plan to apply dicamba this season on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton within the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System, will be required to complete mandatory dicamba training,” says Ryan Rubischko, Bayer’s North American dicamba portfolio lead.
“The important factor for farmers to keep in mind is that if they attended a session last season, they’ll be required to attend another training event before heading into the fields this coming spring, per EPA regulations.”
Participants can log on to RoundupReadyXtend.com/training where they can view all the details relative to Bayer’s dicamba training program, enter their zip code, find a local training session and register for a training session near them.
“We wanted to make this as simple as possible and offer many sessions in local areas to help farmers and applicators prepare for the upcoming season,” Rubischko says.
Currently the in-person training session calendar lists events throughout February and March and additional training options will be offered prior to the application season.
“In early February, we will also be launching an online training option. In those states where online training is allowed, this provides another means for farmers and applicators to complete mandatory dicamba training,” Rubischko says.
He noted that events are being added to Bayer’s training calendar every week.
What to Expect
Both the in-person and online sessions will be similar to last year’s program in content and length, but Bayer has added some additional features in 2019. Representatives will focus on the updated label requirements, plus talk about pesticide use best practices and effective weed management.
“As farmers continue to face more challenging weeds, they are adopting new programs and new approaches and we’ll highlight some of those strategies. These sessions aren’t just about dicamba and application requirements—we want to provide information that can help participants’ overall farming operations,” he says.
Information at each session will be customized to a state’s particular requirements. Per the new label requirements, anyone who plans to use dicamba formulations must be a certified applicator. Those certifications are handled by state authorities and attendees will be directed to contact their local cooperative extension office or state department of agriculture for more information regarding those classes.
The overarching theme of the training sessions is to provide a wealth of practical information that helps users find continued success in applying XtendiMax.
“Over the last two years, we’ve seen a 95 percent satisfaction rate, on average, from applicators and farmers using XtendiMax. Making sure the product is properly applied is an important step to realizing that success,” Rubischko says.
And There’s More
Others who may not be directly involved in the dicamba application process but want to know more about the technology are more than welcome to attend a training session. They’re also encouraged to check out multiple resources online at RoundupReadyXtend.com. Rubischko says that much of that information is continually being updated, including listings for approved nozzles and tank mixes.
“We want to provide as many options for farm operations, so we continue to test and work with retailers and suppliers to achieve that,” he says.
Other items listed under the ‘Training & Stewardship’ tab are state approval details, a continuing education slide deck related to application requirements, weed management recommendations and information about a mobile application.
“The website is a great place to get more information about our RRXtend Spray App. It gives you field-level forecasts for weather, temperature, inversion risk and other things that can be helpful. It’s not your typical weather app,” Rubischko says.
At the request of their customers, Bayer created the new ‘Find an Applicator’ tool.
“We’ve added another tab on our website that lets farmers find a local applicator by simply entering their zip code,” he adds.
Help is also just a phone call away. Bayer will once again offer a special hotline dedicated to the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System. It can be accessed by calling 1-844-RRXTEND.
“If farmers or applicators still have additional questions after attending a training session or want to clarify some things, aside from going to their local retailer, they can call our hotline,” Rubischko says.