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BASF, Monsanto plan joint moves on dicamba-tolerant crops

Seed and ag chem firms BASF and Monsanto have agreed to work jointly on development of dicamba-tolerant cropping systems they expect to have available in Canada by mid-decade.

The two companies’ agreement, announced Monday, grants each company reciprocal licenses to the other’s work and gives Monsanto a supply line for BASF’s formulated dicamba herbicides.

The deal is expected to facilitate “further development work and subsequent commercialization” of a dicamba-tolerant system, which would include BASF’s proprietary dicamba formulations and Monsanto’s proprietary dicamba-tolerant trait for soybeans.

The two companies expect the new cropping system to be introduced in both the U.S. and Canada “in the middle of the decade, pending regulatory approvals.”

Once it’s commercialized, the dicamba tolerance trait is expected to be stacked with Monsanto’s Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybean trait. Monsanto noted it also has dicamba-tolerant canola, corn and cotton crops in its R+D pipeline.

Dicamba, a Group 4 herbicide, is marketed by BASF under the name Banvel II and as part of herbicide combinations including DyVel and, in Eastern Canada, Marksman. Monsanto sells a glyphosate/dicamba combination in Western Canada under the name Rustler.

The two companies’ agreement gives them 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.

The two firms said they’ll also collaborate on development of stewardship guidelines and best-management practices for the dicamba-tolerant system.

“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,” Markus Heldt, president of BASF’s crop protection division, said in the companies’ release.

Dicamba formulations coming out of this agreement are expected to be “an excellent complement to Monsanto’s dicamba tolerant seed technologies when they are brought to market,” Monsanto’s chief technology officer Robb Fraley said in the same release.

Monsanto and BASF in November last year jointly published “favourable” results of joint field testing of new dicamba-based weed killer formulations with Monsanto’s next-generation dicamba-tolerant soybeans.

The two firms first announced a joint licensing agreement to develop formulations for dicamba for use with herbicide-resistant cropping systems in January 2009.

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