Enlist technology advances in USDA regulatory process

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Dow AgroSciences concluded another year of collaborative research, field-based experiences, and outreach to stakeholders on the Enlist Weed Control System. The technology, for which U.S. regulatory approvals are currently pending, is also moving to the next step in the review process. Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the completion of its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the Enlist corn and soybean traits.

“This is an exciting next step toward bringing Enlist to American farmers,” says Damon Palmer, U.S. Commercial Leader, Enlist Weed Control System, Dow AgroSciences. “We’ve just concluded another year focused on collaboration and education—all to pave the  way for a successful introduction of the technology.”

New data is released; experts weigh in
University and Dow AgroSciences research trials in 2013 showed exceptional weed control across resistant and susceptible species. Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology, a proprietary blend of glyphosate and new 2,4-D choline, will be the herbicide for use with Enlist crops when commercialized.  Dow AgroSciences will recommend a program approach to weed management that includes Enlist Duo and a residual herbicide, such as Sonic in soybeans. The research trials, conducted across the Midwest and Mid-South, showed 98 to 100 percent control on waterhemp, velvetleaf, ragweeds, palmer amaranth and morningglory.

click image to zoom Farmers who participated in the on-farm grower research plots in 2013 saw similar results. All participants rated broadleaf and grass weed control in the highest percentile (90 to 100 percent) and provided positive feedback on herbicide handling.

International weed science expert, Stephen Powles, Ph.D., also provided input on Enlist in 2013. Powles, a renowned herbicide resistance researcher, met with Dow AgroSciences to review research on Enlist and discuss stewardship and weed resistance management. “We are on a trajectory for continued weed resistance and thus major adverse impact on crop productivity. To fight resistance we need herbicide diversity and alternative technologies. Enlist is one such diversity tool,” says Powles. “American farmers need these tools now.”

Listening and information exchange make an impact

In addition to a successful season of training and on-farm research plots, Dow AgroSciences continued to meet with agricultural and non-agricultural stakeholders to exchange information and receive input on Enlist. Specialty crop growers, including grape and tomato growers, learned about the Enlist system and the Enlist Ahead management resource, a program to help farmers succeed while responsibly managing the technology.

Dow AgroSciences also heard from stakeholders closer to home: farm moms.

“I wear many hats in my life,” says Emily Mohn from Minnesota. “I’m a mom, an emergency medical technician, a farm wife, a friend. Given my many roles, it gives me peace of mind to know that Dow AgroSciences has extensively researched Enlist, and is helping farmers learn how to manage it properly.”

USDA will open comment period on Enlist

USDA recently moved the Enlist corn and soybean traits to the next step in the regulatory process by announcing the availability of the DEIS. According to USDA, on January 10 there will be a notice in the Federal Register announcing the opening of a comment period for the DEIS. The comment period is an opportunity for growers and others to provide input on the Enlist corn and soybean traits as USDA conducts its review.

“Comment periods are a key way for farmers to make their voices heard in the regulatory process,” says Bart Schott, former president, National Corn Growers Association. “I would absolutely encourage growers to tell the USDA farmers need access to new technology like Enlist. Technology enables us to compete in the global economy.”

Pending regulatory approvals, Dow AgroSciences expects to launch Enlist corn and soybeans in 2015, with cotton to follow.

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