Enlist Weed Control System Delayed By Slow Regulatory Process

04:51PM Jan 18, 2013
( Charles Johnson )

Glyphosate-resistant waterhemp wrestled its way into Pat and Karl Duncanson’s fields several years ago, defying their best efforts to keep the weed at bay.

"For us, the aha moment was last year in soybeans when we saw all the classic signs of weed resistance," Pat says.

The south-central Minnesota farmers are eager to try the new Enlist Weed Control System, featuring Enlist Duo herbicide, to whip resistant waterhemp and other weeds. But an announcement from Dow AgroSciences today indicates that they and other U.S. farmers will have to wait until 2014 to use the system in their fields.

Damon Palmer, U.S. commercial leader for the Enlist System, says the decision to modify launch plans is due to slower-than-anticipated regulatory processes.

"Regulatory approvals proceed at their own pace, and we’re at a point now where farmers need certainty as they make planting decisions," Palmer says.

"We’re continuing all of our launch activities for 2013. We’re committed to delivering Enlist to the farm gate," Palmer adds, noting the company expects full regulatory approval within the next several months.

Duncanson says he is anxious to have a new herbicide tool available so he can rotate away from the products he currently uses for weed control.

"I want to preserve all of these products for years to come, and having Enlist available will allow us to do that," says Duncanson, who farms near Mapleton, Minn.

Duncanson now anticipates using an available preemergence herbicide with residual for early season weed control in soybeans. Plus, because waterhemp flushes multiple times during the growing season, he anticipates making at least one post-emergence herbicide application as well.

"Most of the conventional products will not give us the kind of control we had been accustomed to. They just aren’t quite as effective as the older history of Roundup was or what the promise of Enlist sounds like it will be for us," Duncanson says.

Palmer says a broad range of field experience plots and on-farm technical plots have been planned for farmers to tour and review this summer.

Some highlights of what Dow AgroSciences has planned for 2013 include:

Newly created Dow AgroSciences Technology Centers planned to showcase Enlist system, Enlist 360 learning series
Five technology centers dedicated to Enlist and the Enlist 360 learning series are planned for the Midwest and the South. Growers, retailers and seed sellers can take part in interactive, field-based training designed to familiarize them with all aspects of the Enlist technology, from product performance to application and best management practices.

Local and on-farm experience plots to offer learning exchange for Dow, farmers and retailers
Dow AgroSciences intends to offer more than 100 small Enlist plots at seed company and retailer locations across the Corn Belt. Additionally, plans are underway to allow evaluation of the Enlist system on-farm, providing farmers an opportunity to manage the technology and observe control of tough weed species on their farm.

Increases in seed production and chemistry supply in anticipation of approvals will help meet high demand
Dow AgroSciences plans to ramp up seed production and its supply of Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology to support the anticipated launch. The company expects all approvals will be in place for sale in late 2013 and will be ready for a robust ramp-up of Enlist corn in a broad geography and hybrid portfolio for 2014.

Meanwhile, new research presented by university researchers and Dow AgroSciences at the North Central Weed Science Society annual meeting in December 2012 and at other academic meetings continues to affirm the technical strength and field performance of Enlist.

"We have conducted field research trials over the past several years evaluating the Enlist Weed Control System concepts on our most problematic weed species such as glyphosate-resistant waterhemp and horseweed (also known as marestail)," says Bryan Young, weed scientist at Southern Illinois University. "The approach of combining multiple herbicide modes of action, a sound residual herbicide at planting, and effective herbicide mixtures for in-season postemergence applications has proven to be quite effective."

Respected regulatory agencies outside of the U.S., including Canada and Japan, have made regulatory decisions in support of the Enlist technology.

"Dow AgroSciences stands ready to help farmers meet the weed control challenges they’re facing," Palmer says. "We are committed to introducing this technology responsibly and sustaining it for the long term."