Training begins even before a product is available to retailers and growers.
For Monsanto, marketing a new product doesn’t begin when it becomes available for retailers to sell and farmers to buy. It begins by educating potential customers in anticipation of its official launch.
The company recently unveiled its Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System for soybeans in Brandon, Man. It’s not for sale quite yet, but Monsanto wants retailers and growers to be familiar with it when the time comes — an important marketing strategy that ensures retailers know how to promote it and growers are well informed, too.
“When farmer customers finally do have access to this new technology, they’ll know how to use it to be as successful as possible on their farm,” says Joe Vink, Monsanto weed management technical lead. “Outreach and education days like we’re having today are extremely valuable,” he adds.
Monsanto held numerous events in Manitoba during June, introducing retailers and growers to the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System, offering them a chance to ask questions and find out more about the product. Although it’s just now being unveiled to retailers and growers, Monsanto employees have had several years to become familiar with the product.
“In Canada, our first field trials were in 2008. We’re eight seasons into the project, and it speaks to our confidence in what the product is, what it isn’t, the importance of the proper formulation and how to get the most out of this new opportunity with dicamba,” says Mark Lawton, national technology development lead for Monsanto.
The Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System for soybeans is intended to provide farmers with more consistent, flexible control of weeds, especially tough-to-manage and glyphosate-resistant weeds, and to help maximize crop yield potential. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans will contain the Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybean trait technology stacked with a trait that contains tolerance
As a component of the crop system, Monsanto will sell two herbicide options — Roundup Xtend herbicide with VaporGrip Technology and XtendiMAX with VaporGrip Technology. The Roundup Xtend herbicide will be a premix of dicamba and glyphosate that’s currently under regulatory review, and the XtendiMAX herbicide will be a straight dicamba product and with full regulatory approval. They are designed to manage weeds before planting and as an over-the-top option on Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans during the growing season.
Monsanto has received approval in Canada to sell the crop system, but is waiting for some international approvals before rolling it out. Engagement with the international community is another key part to rolling out a new product, Lawton says.
“It’s important that soybeans exported from Canada are accepted by other big countries, so there is a process to get import approvals in the key export markets for specific crops,” Lawton explains. “China is one that’s high on our list. We’re optimistic that’s going to be complete later this year. We’re planning for success and growing varieties this year in anticipation of those approvals so that we’ll have new varieties with the Xtend trait in them for farmers as early as 2016.”