There is still a chance for many farmers of the Midwest to be proactive instead of reactive to glyphosate-resistant weeds. “It comes down to proactive management versus reactive management,” said Paul Rea, BASF vice president U.S. Crop Protection.

Rea distilled important points presented during BASF’s “The Science Behind the Future of Weed Control” media conference held in conjunction with the Commodity Classic in Nashville, Tenn. He noted that there were missed opportunities in some parts of the country to be proactive, but opportunity is still in front of many farmers to get on top of weed control and put in place strategies that manage for the long term.

But the speed with which weeds in fields are shifting to herbicide resistant is amazing. And that weed shift in northern states isn’t going any slower than it occurred in southern states. “We have some 13 glyphosate-resistant species today in some 27 different states,” he noted. 

Weeds are a real economic challenge for growers, not just a production one, because weed control can triple costs compared to using a glyphosate-only program.

Scouting of fields early in the season to find really small weeds is something farmers have forgotten how to do or to budget others to do for them. Rea referred to weed scientists suggesting that scouting almost daily early in the season is required so that response can be very, very quick, if a post-emerge herbicide application is going to be successful.

“Diversity of chemistry selections, the crops that are planted and using the full gamut of cultural practices are going to mitigate this issue even further,” he said.

During the media conference Rea and other BASF officials highlighted how pre-emergence herbicides are important along with post-emergence products. They contended that BASF is at the forefront of options for glyphosate-resistant weeds because it has 10 different sites of action herbicides in its portfolio that can be used to address weed problems proactively.

Rea recounted in distilled bullet points presentation information about a new dicamba formulation product that will be marketed for use post-emerge over the top of dicamba-resistant crops in the next couple years, following Monsanto completing the registration of these resistant crops. 

He said, “We heard from Steve Bowe (BASF biology group leader) who really highlighted the value that dicamba already delivers growers across the country, and how with our new advanced dicamba formulation called Engenia how it will help growers experience all that dicamba has to offer in a post application in a dicamba cropping system, and in particular dicamba tolerant soybeans.”

Engenia herbicide is an advanced dicamba formulation with low-volatility characteristics for improved on-target application that will be available in the near future.

Rea further noted, “Steve (Bowe) also highlighted the importance of stewardship and how important it will be to protect this technology, use it correctly, use all the tools we have available and how when we bring this technology to the marketplace stewardship is going to be an important part in protecting the sustainability of the solution we are offering.”