Novel New Herbicide

May 3, 2009 07:00 PM

Pam Smith, Farm Journal Seeds & Production Editor
Mother Nature can throw some wild curve balls. The 2008 planting season showed how important it is to be able to switch hit and this spring looks to be shaping up as a rerun of last year.
That makes flexibility the name of the game. Imagine an herbicide that is suitable for contact and residual control of broadleaf weeds across a range of crops. Enter Kixor--the first in a new active ingredient under development by BASF known as pyrimidinedione. It controls more than 70 broadleaf weeds and has been shown to have safe on more the 30 crops—including corn, sorghum, soybeans, cereals, tree fruits and nuts.
Kixor will actually be a family of products. How it is used (and the name of the product) will depend on the crop. In general, it will be able to be applied prior to crop emergence for burndown of emerged broadleaf weeds in a number of crops and at higher rates in corn and sorghum for season-long residual broadleaf control. It's also shown potential to be used as a direct postemergence treatment in citrus fruit, pome fruit, stone fruit and nut trees. It can be used as a sunflower desiccant, as a postharvest burndown treatment and as a postemergence treatment in fallow cropland. BASF expects to receive registration for Kixor herbicide by fall 2009.
Rex Liebl, Global Herbicide Marketing, says BASF scientists began searching for a new herbicide that would deliver both soil and foliar control of key broadleaf weeds, while being safe on a wide range of crops.
"Our goal was to create a new breed of protoporphyrinogen IX oxidase (PPO) inhibitor possessing high levels of weed control and crop selectivity not found in existing PPOs,” Dr. Liebl says. "We identified novel ways for a PPO to attack weeds and then set out to create a truly unique herbicide.”
Liebl and his team started with a class of chemistry called the benzoisothiazoles, potent herbicides with no crop tolerance and mostly soil activity. Opening the isothiazole ring and optimizing the resulting side chain was key to achieving the goal. "Kixor's innovation comes from its tailor-made side chain, which is the power behind its unique properties and the great results it delivers," Dr. Liebl said. "Its polarity provides soil activity, its acidic properties create systemic movement in plants for foliar activity, and it is rapidly metabolized by a wide variety of crops for excellent crop safety."
Kixor inhibits a key step in chlorophyll biosynthesis. In layman's terms, the herbicide is readily metabolized by tolerant crops like corn. Yet sensitive weeds like morningglory, lambsquarter, nightshade and waterhemp cannot metabolize the product and start to show signs of shutting down a few hours after treatment.
"The speed with which Kixor controls weeds is remarkable," Dr. Liebl said. "In addition to controlling weeds fast, our research shows it provides complete foliar burndown.”
Southern Illinois University weed scientist Bryan Young says farmers should like the fact that the use of Kixor does not require the purchase of specific seed traits. He's found the product to show good activity in trials. "It's working well for burndown on marestail, which is becoming our big challenge in Southern Illinois as resistance to glyphosate becomes more problematic,” Young says
"In corn, it has performed just as well or better than atrazine for residual control of tough large-seeded broadleaf weeds and I don't know if I've ever said that before about any other new herbicide,” he adds. Young has also documented synergy when Kixor is used along with glyphosate.
BASF says results from U.S. field trails show that Kixor:
  • Controls tough broadleaf weeds three-to-five times faster than the closest competitors
  • Delivers burndown and preemergence control of major broadleaf weeds
  • Controls atrazine, ALS, and/or glyphosate-resistant broadleaf weeds
  • Provides superior broadleaf weed control and season-long residual control at full use rates
  • Offers a residual setup at reduced rates for an in-crop glyphosate application
Kixor is not yet registered with the EPA and is not available for sale.

For More Information
Click here to view a time lapse video of Kixor in action.

You can email Pam Smith at

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