These are interesting times indeed for the company known as Dow AgroSciences. In the grand scheme of things, the company’s parent corporation has been engaged in a merger efforts with DuPont (which is anticipated to have occurred by the time this issue hits mailboxes).
However, even discounting this big news, Dow AgroSciences was already looking forward to a busy 2018 growing season, particularly for many of its products. So, during the summer months of June, July, and August, the company held a series of one-day Field Days across much of the Midwest. CropLife® magazine was lucky enough to attend the Dow Field Day that took place in mid-June across many parts of Indiana.
Naturally, perhaps the biggest news to come out of the Indiana Field Day involved a Dow product that members of the agricultural community have been anticipating for many years now — Enlist corn. This variety of corn is resistant to the herbicide 2,4-D and works in concert with Dow’s Enlist Duo herbicide (glyphosate+2,4-D). Although the company has had several growers planting Enlist corn in test plots for a few seasons, the lack of regulatory approval for export to certain parts of the world have kept Dow from introducing Enlist corn on a widespread basis.
“I’m happy to report that we now have trait approval for Enlist corn in China,” said John Chase, U.S. Commercial Leader, Enlist Weed Control System. “We now are able to launch corn containing the Enlist trait starting for the 2018 season.” Chase went on to say that Enlist corn will be offered by Dow through its Mycogen Seeds, Brodbeck Seeds, Dairyland Seed, Pfister Seeds, and Prairie Brand Seed, in both SmartStax and PowerCore line-ups and licensed as PowerCore Enlist to other interested seed companies.
According to Chase, Enlist corn could be a welcome addition to the crop fields of U.S. growers who continue to fight the battle against herbicide-resistant weeds. “Make no mistake — resistant weeds continue to spread,” he said. “In fact, according to experts, resistant weeds can be found today on more than 100 million acres of farmland in the U.S. We’ve already seen some success in this fight with the launch of Enlist cotton earlier this year, and it is our hope that corn growers will be able to gain this same level of success against stubborn weeds in their fields.”
Enlist Soybeans up Next
Chase added that Dow is now raising Enlist soybeans in many seed production plots across the U.S. and that these too will be introduced to the greater agricultural marketplace once approvals from China and the European Union are gained.
But a few nearby ag retailers already have grower-customers working with Enlist soybeans and Enlist Duo. One of these is North Central Co-op (NCC) in Warren, IN. According to the co-op’s Ryan Hoffman, Account Relations Manager for NCC, the Landrum Family Farm has been growing Enlist soybeans on 250 acres of its land for some time now.
“They are big fans of the Enlist system,” said Hoffman. “It’s offered them great control on giant ragweed that is resistant to other herbicides. In fact, I’ve seen some plants that were knee high when sprayed look wilted in almost no time at all.”
Another advantage of using Enlist Duo, he added, was that the required buffer zone needed near sensitive areas for its application is only 30 feet (as compared with 110 feet for dicamba-resistant crop spraying). “Since most resistant weeds tend to be located along field borders and edges, this smaller buffer zone is an important way to make certain applicators are getting every weed with their application work,” said Hoffman.
Other Products, Trends
Elsewhere at Dow, the company is looking for a big market push for Resicore corn herbicide (acetochlor+mesotrione+clopyralid) in 2018 as well. According to Lyndsie Kaehler, U.S. Corn Herbicides Product Manager, Resicore can offer growers burndown and residual control of such tough-to-handle weeds as giant ragweed, waterhemp, and marestail.
As for soybeans, Dow offers Elevore herbicide as an option, said Lindsey Hecht, U.S. Soybean Herbicides Product Manager. Featuring Arylex active, Elevore can be used to combat weeds that are resistant to glyphosate or ALS applications and is particularly effective against marestail and lambsquarter. “Elevore herbicide can provide thorough control of marestail plants that are up to eight inches tall,” said Hecht.
As for insects, Dr. Brad Hopkins, Biology Team Leader, Global Seed Treatments and North America Corn Insect Resistance Traits, said that the extremely cool/wet spring experienced in many parts of the Midwest could make 2017-18 “big years for corn rootworm infestations.”
To deal with this, Dow is offering new insect protection options for its PowerCore and SmartStax lines. “We also plan to launch SmartStax Pro for better corn rootworm control by the 2020 growing season,” said Hopkins.