Herbicides For 2013: Loading Up The Arsenal

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Resistance Fight Spreads

At Syngenta, sales have “really taken off,” according to Marc Hennen, herbicide brand asset lead. “Most of our sales are traditionally in the Southeast, but we’ve really been seeing a lot of growth in the upper Midwest as waterhemp proliferates into southern Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota.”

To deal with resistant weeds, Syngenta is advocating a pre-, or residual, application of Boundary (S-metolachlor and metribuzin) and a post-application of Flexstar GT 3.5 (fomesafen and glyphosate), deploying four effective modes of action at once.

“What we’re trying to do is get the message out there that there’s really not one good ‘post’ solution anymore,” says Hennen. “It used to be just a couple sprays of glyphosate and you were good to go. Now with some of these resistant biotypes, you need to get more modes of action out there.”

Prefix, containing fomesafen and S-metolachlor, and glyphosate are two additional products that performed well in 2012, according to Hennen.

Going forward, retailers can expect products containing HPPD-inhibiting chemistries such as mesotrione, the active ingredient in Callisto, to be available for weed control in soybeans after mid-decade. Syngenta and Bayer CropScience are co-developing herbicide-tolerance technology that will enable HPPD and glufosinate chemistries in soybeans to, when stacked with other traits, provide multiple mode of action herbicide tolerance in soybeans.

In corn, Lexar EZ and Lumax EZ, both of which received registration in 2012 as new formulations of previously existing products, provided broad spectrum burndown and residual control and three modes of action to growers, depending on their geography. “Lumax EZ is more of a central to northern Corn Belt product, as it contains less atrazine than the Lexar EZ, which is better suited for the central to southern Corn Belt,” says John Foresman, Syngenta product lead for mesotrione brands in corn.

According to Foresman, the new formulations offer improved handling, minimized over-wintering effects and less separation, along with improved mixing with sulphur-containing nitrogen fertilizers.

Residual Innovations

DuPont Crop Protection’s Jennifer Goodman, soybean portfolio manager, says the Wilmington, DE-based company is highlighting three products offering residual protection for the 2013 growing season.

“For pre-emergence soybean applications, Enlite and Envive herbicides give soybean growers peace of mind by offering longer-lasting, more consistent weed control, including control of glyphosate-tolerant or resistant weeds,” says Goodman.

Formulated to address the needs of northern, central and southern U.S. growing seasons, she adds the herbicides help soybeans get off to a good start in a variety of soil types and growing conditions.

Another innovative product from DuPont is Synchrony XP herbicide, a “cost-effective tank-mix partner” that boosts glyphosate activity in burndown or post-emergence applications, according to the company. Unlike 2,4-D, which generally requires a seven to 14 day pre-harvest interval, there’s no waiting to plant after a Synchrony XP burndown.

“Synchrony XP can be used in a post-emergence application to control resistant and challenging weeds such as lambsquarters, morningglory and velvetleaf,” says Goodman. “And the residual control reduces weed populations for an extended period of time.”

Meanwhile Jeff Carpenter, DuPont U.S. corn portfolio manager, is excited about innovations in the company’s corn herbicides pipeline, starting with Instigate, which received EPA registration back in August and will make its debut with the 2013 growing season.

“Instigate offers application flexibility – it can be put on pre-emerge or early post, and it’s designed to control broadleaves and grasses,” says Carpenter. “It offers enhanced weed control, allowing flexibility in tank mix partners and use rates.”

Carpenter also states that Instigate offers both one- and two-pass weed control. “The key part for retailers to know about this product is that it is being positioned primarily in the Eastern Corn Belt, targeting Indiana, Michigan and Ohio,” says Carpenter. “It’s also important to understand that this is a dry product, not a bulk product. So for retailers interested in reducing their bulk products, this is a great option.”

As for the near future, Goodman states: “Exciting new weed control blends are also on the way with an emphasis on resistance management.”

A Dicamba Comeback

BASF U.S. Crop Protection has enjoyed a solid year in herbicides sales, according to Luke Bozeman, technical market manager for the Research Triangle Park, NC-based global giant.

Two products that made headway in the market, according to Bozeman, were Optill PRO (saflufenacil + imazethapyr and dimethenamid) in soybeans and Armezon, a corn post-emergence product. “Optill PRO launched in 2012 for soybeans and has been a very well performing product and we anticipate expanded use in 2013.”

In 2013, BASF looks forward to the registration of Zidua, a pre- and early post-emergence product already approved for use in corn, in soybeans, giving growers yet another residual choice in the weed resistance fight.

“Zidua has a very good performance profile for resistant weeds,” says Bozeman. “It features some very nice staying power in the soil and it’s very good on problem weeds like Palmer amaranth and waterhemp.”

Beyond 2013, BASF is excited to receive registration for Engenia herbicide to go with the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend dicamba-tolerant soybean system Monsanto is developing. Bozeman reports Engenia, the company’s advanced dicamba formulation, is being constantly innovated to maximize performance.

“We’ve taken another advancement in management of off-target risk while at the same time keeping the high weed control activity profile of dicamba,” says Bozeman. “This is going to allow a soybean grower, for instance, an entirely new type of herbicide to use in crop, and we’re very excited about that as well.”

Meanwhile, Monsanto’s Kim Magin, director of industry affairs, advised that the company feels it is starting to chip away at some of the preconceived notions regarding dicamba. “I’m hearing far greater acceptance in the market than I did when we first started a few years ago,” says Magin. “I think it’s partly driven by growers that recognize they need new tools to
manage the many resistant weeds that are out there.”

“I also think there’s been a greater appreciation for some of the formulation advancements that have been made, both by Monsanto and BASF with dicamba and Dow with its 2,4-D,” she adds. “There is new technology that is helping to reduce the volatility of some of these formulations, and there are application practices that can be applied to really reduce drift and overall off target movement.”

As they build to 2014, Monsanto officials have been developing research-based best management application requirements for future Roundup Ready 2 Xtend. Among the recommendations that, along with a group of industry and extension experts, they came up with are:

  • Using only coarse to ultra-coarse droplets and timing sprays when weeds are four inches or shorter.
  • Applying only in wind speeds of 10 mph or less and keeping the sprayer at a ground speed of less than 15 mph. Boom height is also to be maintained at 20 inches above the canopy.
  • Maintaining the required label buffer zone, using a drift reduction agent and deploying residual herbicides to manage weed resistance concerns are also important best management practices.

After nailing down the best management practices, it’s time to take the message to the front lines. “Re­tail­ers are going to be pivotal in influencing a grower’s decision (to use dicamba),” says Magin. “They can make or break the differences in the formulations through education and training, so over the next year we’re going to be working closely with them on these application requirements so that they can then pass that along to whoever is doing the application work.”

Grassi is the Assistant Editor for the CropLife Media Group, including CropLife and CropLife IRON magazines and the PrecisionAg Special Reports. He joined the staff in February 2012.
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