First, there was Roundup. Then, there was Roundup D-Pak. Then Roundup Ultra. Then, Roundup UltraMax. Each new version of Monsanto's glyphosate herbicide has been “new and improved” compared to the last.
But Monsanto officials say it would be a mistake to consider the company's new Roundup WeatherMax just another formula change in a long line of Roundup brand herbicides. WeatherMax, they say, is “in a class by itself.”
“Roundup WeatherMax is the first new liquid salt formula introduced by Monsanto in more than 20 years,” says David A. Hollinrake, Monsanto's southern regional marketing manager. “It combines potassium salt with TranSorb II technology to provide a penetrating formula that begins to deliver a lethal dose into the weed leaf in minutes.”
Monsanto says the impetus for the development of Roundup WeatherMax came from a survey the company conducted to help it better understand its customers' needs.
“The survey showed that growers can be forced to spray in less-than-ideal conditions more often than not,” says Dean Hendrickson, Roundup WeatherMax brand manager. “In fact, tough conditions are present about eight out of 10 spray days.”
As farmers have learned again this spring, rains interspersed with windy days can force delays in applications of burndown herbicides at a time when the planting window is fast approaching. WeatherMax appears to address the problem of rains occurring soon after application.
“Roundup WeatherMax is very safe to the crop,” said Ralph Jennings, a cotton grower from Delhi, La., who applied WeatherMax under a Monsanto testing program in 2002. “It rained right after application and did not hurt it.”
Jennings experience was repeated in a number of locations last year.
“On days like these, the advanced formula of new Roundup WeatherMax performed admirably, as 94 percent of growers were satisfied with the level of weed control attained,” says Hendrickson.
Before launching the new herbicide, Monsanto put WeatherMax through a series of rigorous tests. Those included more than 750 greenhouse side-by-side comparisons and more than 400 field trials, Hendrickson noted.
“Obviously, we cannot guarantee you'll get the same control as on an ideal spray day on these cold, wet days, but when growers spray Roundup WeatherMax they can get consistency of performance,” he said. “If weed control is not satisfactory, we have the Roundup WeatherMax Warranty to back them up under the Roundup Rewards program.
“Of course we would not recommend spraying when rain is expected, or if you can wait for better conditions, but when you have to spray, we believe Roundup WeatherMax is your best choice.”
With the introduction of Roundup WeatherMax, Monsanto is offering the Roundup WeatherMax Warranty for growers who qualify for Roundup Rewards. The new warranty covers the most frequent challenging conditions and also features the new Roundup WeatherMax 30-Minute Rainfast Warranty.
Hollinrake said the new Roundup WeatherMax also features a more concentrated formula. The average use rate is just 22 ounces per acre (compared to 32 ounces for Roundup UltraMax), so a 120-gallon shuttle will treat about 700 acres.
“This means less product to store and transport, saving time and labor. Growers will see benefits when loading and mixing, including easy and efficient pumping due to the decreased viscosity of WeatherMax.”
In pumping trials at 0 degrees Celsius, Roundup WeatherMax pumped 56 percent faster than Roundup UltraMax through a shuttle pump and 49 percent faster through a standard 5-horsepower bulk pump, he noted.
“Roundup WeatherMax is quicker to pump and foamed less,” said Roger McDaniel, a corn and soybean grower from Clarkton, Mo. “Fewer trips to the pickup and less time filling up gave me more time in the field.”