It has been nearly a month since a jury ruled that Bayer AG and BASF must pay $265 million in total damages to Missouri’s largest peach farmer in a dicamba herbicide drift case. Bayer has said they will appeal the decision, but they also continue to stand behind the product.
“We think it’s a very valuable system that farmers need,” said Lisa Safarian, President of Bayer Crop Science, North America. “As you look at the uptake of that system, it was very quick. We’re on 50 million acres this year, and what we know is that farmers who use the system have a 90%+ satisfaction rate. Having said that, we also have a great new technology that we’re going to be launching in 2021 which is called XtendFlex®, and that adds another opportunity or a different way for a farmer to manage his weeds by adding another mode of action. So, it will be glyphosate, glufosinate and dicamba.”
Her advice for using the dicamba system in 2020 is consistent with what growers have heard since the product launch.
“Just like anything else, follow the label,” she said. “If you have a question reach out. We have an 800 number (For application information, best practices or questions, growers can call 1-844-RRXTEND.) You have your local rep, you have your local retailer if you have any questions about how to utilize it. But farmers have been fantastic. We’ve trained hundreds of thousands of farmers. We’ve given out nozzles. We’ve done a lot of writings and recommendations and farmers have really adapted well to the system and know how to use it, but if there are any questions at all please reach out.”
Further down the road Bayer has both 5 and 6-herbicide tolerant trait beans in their R&D pipeline which is always looking to bring additional modes of action to farmers.
“Our pipeline is very robust,” she said. “We’re very proud of the Xtend system and the XtendiMax product that goes on top of it and we’ll just continue to add more herbicide tolerant opportunities to that seed so that a farmer can make choices about what he wants to use depending on what his current situation is.”
As Bayer nears the two-year anniversary of the Bayer-Monsanto merger, Safarian told Hoosier Ag Today she is proud of her team’s integration efforts.
“Our goal last year was that we kept our support of our farmer-customer intact, regardless of who had been working with that farmer in the past, that we didn’t drop the ball, that we continue to support them. I feel very good that we were able to meet that commitment last year, as well as now carry it into 2020. We got great comments from farmers, great comments throughout the channel that our team was able to come together really pretty quickly and most importantly to continue to provide the support our farmer-customers need.”
Safarian has spent 33 years in this business and has thoughts about the future for women in agriculture, and what her company is doing on that front. Details on that next week.