Proper use of new herbicide-tolerant systems

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With herbicides that have been on the market for decades, it wouldn’t normally be expected that new stewardship programs for their use would be necessary, especially if the herbicide formulations have been improved.

But 2013 is expected to be the beginning of a new era in the use of two herbicide active ingredients—dicamba and 2,4-D. Both of these herbicides have been reformulated for less volatility and physical drift in application for use in conjunction with glyphosate herbicide.

BASF Corporation has its new dicamba formulation branded Engenia. Upon EPA registration review, it will be labeled for use postemerge over Monsanto-developed crops resistant to glyphosate and dicamba as part of the Monsanto Xtend Crop System weed control program, also under EPA review.

Dow AgroSciences has its Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D technology. Enlist Duo is a proprietary blend of new 2,4-D choline and glyphosate; upon EPA registration, this herbicide combination will be part of the Enlist Weed Control System that is based on crops having traits tolerant to glyphosate, 2-4-D and, in corn, aryloxyphenoxypropionate, “fop,” active ingredient grass herbicides.

Both BASF and Dow AgroSciences have initiated programs that stress stewardship, best management practices and management resources pointed toward the distribution channel, ag retailers and growers.

In talking about these goals, spokesmen for both companies explained that it seemed necessary for farmers and applicators to be educated about application since it has been a long time since either of these active ingredients have been widely used in row-crop production. But just as important to both companies is education on how to use the products in an effective and sustainable weed management system minimizing any weed resistance potential—another part of stewardship.

ENLIST AHEAD RESOURCES

All the goals of stewardship and management resources are being rolled under the Enlist Ahead resource management program for Enlist Duo herbicide and Enlist Weed Control System, explained Damon Palmer, lead for introduction of the system.

“One thing that was determined early is that we wanted to bring forward a program, and that is why we’ve positioned Enlist Ahead, from farmgate to retailer, as a management resource,” Palmer said. “We do have the management recommendations that go along with using the chemistry properly to minimize off-target movement, but there also is the management focus on key agronomic things such as using multiple modes of action to control weed resistance.”

The Enlist Ahead components include education, and proper application continues to be a focus of education for the new formulation of 2,4-D, according to Palmer, although herbicides with Colex-D Technology have cut the potential for off-target movement and drift to a bare minimum, especially considering today’s sophisticated application equipment.

“It is important to us as we bring the Enlist Weed Control System forward that we have good weed resistance management recommendations,” Palmer said. “One of the key things that is part of those recommendations is the use of multiple modes of action for weed control. Because Dow AgroSciences is a leader in the herbicide business, we have popular products that farmers are already using that will help serve as the foundation to the Enlist Weed Control System.” For example, the company’s SureStart has three active ingredients other than 2,4-D and glyphosate for corn weed control.

The company is planning for Enlist traited corn to be registered for the 2013 growing season, although that EPA registration has not yet been granted. Enlist traited soybeans could possibly be registered for the 2015 season, and Enlist cotton isn’t expected to be available until at least a year later.

“We are having training, and what is important is that we get growers, applicators and retailers trained by next spring. What you are seeing from us is a diverse deployment of teaching methods. They are including instructor-led training in classrooms and field settings, and there will be electronic educational modules, too. We are really trying to provide the industry with diverse ways to learn about the Enlist Weed Control System,” Palmer said. “Enlist Ahead is very broad and integrated and not just a single event.”

A main tactic this summer has been letting ag retailers and growers see Enlist corn and the weed control in small regional plot demonstrations. As of the end of August, about 4,000 people had observed results in plots and received some training as part of the Enlist Ahead program.

“To support the Enlist Weed Control System as well as Enlist Ahead, we have established a new role of Enlist field technical specialist—employees dedicated to the entire Enlist program,” Palmer also noted.

ON-TARGET ACADEMIES

BASF has had a high profile program as a first step for introduction of Engenia by sponsoring On-Target Application Academies being taught by Bob Wolf, Ph.D., Wolf Consulting & Research, and developed in conjunction with TeeJet Technologies.

The On-Target Application Academy programs do not focus on the upcoming registration of Engenia but information about adjuvants, best practices for application, calibration, equipment clean-out, nozzle selection and demonstrations of plant biology and sprayer set up.

More than a dozen academy sessions have been held this year. “The On-Target Application Academy program is going to be expanded next year. We are working on the plans for 2013 and beyond,” said Daniel Pepitone, BASF, industry affairs manager. “As we make our plans, I can envision there will be more to discuss about Engenia, as we develop the label and best management practices, and as those get finalized for new products, there will be more of a focus on those in the academies.”

Steve Bowe, BASF, group leader for herbicides, biology research and development, said, “The On-Target Application Academies are really to provide an update for applicators and farmers on the latest technology and really go back to the principles of application and focus on core principles and how applicators can use the latest nozzles and electronics, GPS and other tools that are available to improve their application. It is really for pesticides in general, but herbicides more specifically. For the future, the academies will benefit the use of our dicamba products, but it goes for any of our herbicide products and our competitors’ products, too. It really is a stewardship effort for agriculture.”

Bob Wolf performs a calibration demonstration during an On-Target Application Academy. Pepitone noted how the company has improved the dicamba formulations over the years in going from Banvel to Clarity and Status and now the new Engenia that is awaiting EPA registration. Monsanto will be using the new dicamba formulation in its Roundup Xtend herbicide, which will be a combination of dicamba and glyphosate (Roundup).

“The new Engenia formulation does a good job of minimizing the volatility potential, and newer technology minimizes the potential for spray drift,” Bowe said. “There is a dramatic difference with the new nozzle technology that is out there. And then the use of deposition aids on top of that; those adjuvants that either increase the droplet size or reduce evaporation will allow maximum product on the weeds and minimize any off-target movement.”

The BASF spokesmen also stressed the other major aspect of their new product introduction and weed control system in conjunction with Monsanto—weed resistance management.

“The application academies are only part of an overall stewardship effort,” said Bowe. “We have two big areas that we are trying to stress. One is on-target application and the other is weed resistance management. Both are really hot topics, and they are really serious matters for growers.”

He went on to say, “We want to make sure that dicamba is used in an overall system, or plan, for managing weeds, and that includes going back to basic agronomics to make sure a crop is as competitive as possible, and with herbicides, that includes making sure to use residual herbicides, mixing and rotating herbicide modes of action and having a diverse weed control program.”

“Dicamba is going to be a very valuable part of cropping systems; there is a real need for it, but we don’t want it to be abused. It has to be used intelligently like any of the herbicide tools that we have available.”

Herbicide resistance is something that Bowe and BASF representatives are stressing in discussions with growers and ag retailers. The company doesn’t want growers using a postemerge application of the new dicamba and glyphosate alone.

Bowe said, “If you only have two modes of actions that are active on a weed species, and the weed is resistant to one of those herbicides, then the second one is the only one effective against the weed. That is not a strong strategy, and that is why we are working with university researchers developing resistant management strategies that provide effective control but are durable and not focused on the use of only two herbicides.”


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