Dow AgroSciences continues to execute on its launch strategy as it awaits final regulatory approvals for the Enlist Weed Control System—both Enlist-traited seed corn and Enlist Duo herbicide—which is a totally new herbicide-tolerant trait technology. The company has announced its expanding launch activities with field and farmer-focused Enlist experiences for 2013.

Dow AgroSciences now expects the Environmental Protection Agency registrations allowing for the first sale of the Enlist seed and Enlist Duo combination to be too late for sales to farmers for 2013 planting and weed control. The Enlist system for corn is anticipated to be available for sale as part of the spring 2014 crop planning by farmers.  

This push back from 2013 Enlist system corn planting will allow Dow AgroSciences to conduct broad introduction and awareness programs at regional and local levels, especially in the Corn Belt, but also in some key corn production areas of the South.

Regional and local field experience plots and on-farm technical plots have been planned to be part of 2013 all along, according to the company. Included in the demonstrations are plans for 100 ag retailer associated plots being set up by Dow AgroSciences sales representatives working with their key accounts under experimental use permitting, said Damon Palmer, U.S. commercial leader, Enlist Weed Control System.

These activities will show both the performance of corn with the Enlist trait and also the crop tolerance and performance of Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology 2,4-D and glyphosate herbicide.

“It will open the window of application up, which is one of the key benefits of the Enlist Weed Control System,” said Palmer. “It will give growers a lot wider window of application than they have with a typical 2,4-D product.”

The label submitted to the EPA is for application on the Enlist corn up to V8 stage or 30-inch tall corn, and a weed height chart will be part of the label. Even with a wider window for application, Palmer said use of the herbicide should be at the weed height listed—as will be emphasized and shown in field trials.

“From an industry perspective, we really need to be focusing on application from a weed-height standpoint,” he said.

Trying to push the envelope on how big a weed can be sprayed could have some impact on weed resistance that has occurred when not all the weeds in a field are killed. More and more weeds have become increasingly unmanageable across the Midwest and South in a rapid timeframe.       

Recent third-party market research shows that cropland acres infested with glyphosate-resistant weeds increased an astonishing 80 percent during the past two years, according to DowAgrosciences.

“The need for technology like Enlist is now,” said Doug Morrow, Indiana grower and former president, Indiana Soybean Alliance. “Our inability to control weeds is putting some operations at risk, and impacts what agriculture is able to produce. This technology is worth the wait, but we need it as soon as we can get it.”

Dow AgroSciences announced its 2013 Enlist activities will center on three key areas: education, experience and production ramp up.

Newly created Dow AgroSciences Technology Centers planned to showcase Enlist system, Enlist 360 learning series. Five technology centers dedicated to Enlist and the Enlist 360 learning series are planned for the Midwest and the South. Growers, retailers and seed sellers can take part in interactive, field-based training designed to familiarize them with all aspects of the Enlist technology, from product performance, to application and best management practices.

Local and on-farm experience plots to offer learning exchange for Dow, farmers and retailers
Dow AgroSciences intends to offer more than 100 small Enlist plots at seed company and retailer locations across the Corn Belt (as Palmer emphasized). Additionally, plans are underway to allow evaluation of the Enlist system on-farm, providing farmers an opportunity to manage the technology and observe control of tough weed species on their farm.

Increases in seed production and chemistry supply in anticipation of approvals will help meet high demand. Dow AgroSciences plans to ramp up seed production and its supply of Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology to support the anticipated launch. The company expects all approvals will be in place for sale in late 2013, and will be ready for a robust ramp up of Enlist corn in a broad geography and hybrid portfolio for 2014.

Palmer also noted that new research presented by university researchers and Dow AgroSciences at the North Central Weed Science Society annual meeting in December 2012, and at other academic meetings, continues to affirm the technical strength and field performance of Enlist.

Bryan Young, Ph.D., professor, Southern Illinois University, said, "We have conducted field research trials over the past several years evaluating the Enlist Weed Control System concepts on our most problematic weed species such as glyphosate-resistant waterhemp and horseweed (also known as marestail). The approach of combining multiple herbicide modes of action, a sound residual herbicide at planting, and effective herbicide mixtures for in-season postemergence applications has proven to be quite effective."

Regulatory agencies outside of the U.S., including Canada and Japan, have made regulatory decisions in support of the Enlist technology, the company noted.

Palmer said, “We are committed to introducing this technology responsibly and sustaining it for the long term.”