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January 25, 2014
By: Rhonda Brooks, Farm Journal Seeds & Production Editor
Weed Warrior
  
 
 

2015 poised for new seed and herbicide technology

For corn and soybean farmers struggling to keep a lid on tough-to-control weeds while producing high-yielding crops, the introduction of new products currently in the pipeline can’t happen soon enough. In early January, those farmers received some good news with the vote of confidence USDA provided for the Dow AgroSciences Enlist Weed Control System.

In a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), USDA recommended full deregulation as its "preferred option" for the company’s new corn and soybean traits. If advanced, the proposal will give farmers a new version of seeds that can tolerate herbicides and provide another weapon in fighting glyphosate resistance.

Farmers, including Greg Goplerud from St. Ansgar, Iowa, look forward to having access to a new herbicide program that will provide over-the-top control of tough weeds such as giant ragweed, lambsquarters, Palmer amaranth and waterhemp. "[It] gives us another option of getting control on resistant weeds that we are starting to see now," Goplerud says.

An online report by Trefis stock analysis service adds that Dow Chemical-sponsored third-party research shows that "cropland acres with weeds resistant to glyphosate-based herbicides [now total] more than 65 million acres."

DSC 2494

U.S. cropland acres with weed resistance now total more than 65 million acres.


What to expect. Pending regulatory approval, the Enlist Weed Control System seed traits will be featured in Enlist corn, Enlist E3 soybeans and Enlist soybeans with Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield.

Farmers will use the new corn and soybean products in tandem with the company’s Enlist Duo herbicide, a proprietary blend of glyphosate and 2,4-D choline. The herbicide contains Colex-D technology, which reduces volatility and the potential for drift.

Along with glyphosate and 2,4-D tolerance, Enlist corn will have tolerance to the FOP class of herbicides, including quizalofop, the active ingredient in Assure II and Targa, respectively. Enlist soybeans, Enlist E3 soybeans and Enlist cotton will also have tolerance to glufosinate, the active ingredient in the Bayer CropScience LibertyLink system.

Commercial application of the Enlist Weed Control System requires that both the new seed traits and the new herbicide be approved by U.S. regulatory officials prior to use.

As of early January, the public was given 45 days to comment on the DEIS proposal. In response, Dow AgroSciences is inviting farmers to present feedback on the Enlist corn and soybean traits.

"We encourage growers, retailers and others to make their voices heard at USDA on the need for new weed control technology such as Enlist," says Damon Palmer, Dow U.S. commercial leader for the system.

Palmer says the easiest way for farmers to sign a petition in support of Enlist is to go to www.advancefarming.com/petition.htm. Farmers can also check out the product information at www.enlist.com and follow the Twitter handle @EnlistOnline.

"Comment periods are a key way for farmers to make their voices heard in the regulatory process," adds Bart Schott, former president of the National Corn Growers Association, in a press release.

Some individuals and environmental groups have expressed skepticism toward the move by USDA to deregulate the Enlist Weed Control System, citing concerns that the technology will contribute to increased weed-resistance issues and herbicide drift.

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FEATURED IN: Farm Journal - February 2014

 
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