PCG EMAIL SERVICES: LUBBOCKONLINE.COM - New herbicide leaves farmers hopeful
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LUBBOCKONLINE.COM - New herbicide leaves farmers hopeful
Posted February 4, 2017 11:07 am
By JOSIE MUSICO
A new herbicide could help control pesky weeds, but only if you use it carefully.
Researchers advise against relying entirely on Enlist Duo, even if farmers find it effective.
"Don't go down the Roundup path of thinking, 'This is our salvation,' " agronomist Wayne Keeling said at a recent Plains Cotton Growers meeting.
Keeling, who works for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, referred to the overuse of that herbicide that led to its loss of effectiveness. Glyphosate — the active ingredient in Roundup — was a cheap and convenient way to manage the weeds that wreak havoc in crop fields.
You could hardly blame farmers for forgetting about other chemicals — when you have one that works so well, why bother with the rest?
But after a few years of repeated use, you could hardly blame the weeds for evolving a resistance. By now, it's hard to find a pigweed that will respond to Roundup.
But there's nothing unique about pigweeds' adjustment ability. Organisms adapt through natural selection to factors in their environment. Spray Enlist Duo repeatedly and exclusively, and you'll end up with the same problem.
That's why experts recommend mixing it up.
"Don't think, 'This is the basis of my weed control,' like we did with Roundup," Keeling said. The "duo" refers to Enlist's two main components: 2,4-D and glyphosate. Neither of those herbicides is new, but its variation of 2,4-D is less prone to drift and volatilization.
Of course, you have to plant seeds genetically modified to withstand the applications; you don't want the herbicide killing your crops with your weeds.
"It works well at controlling or helping to control glyphosate-resistant weeds, but it needs to be used as a part of a system. They can't just spray Enlist Duo," said Peter Dotray, extension weed specialist and professor for Texas Tech and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
For Enlist Duo, Dow AgroSciences has approval for modified soybeans, corn and cotton.
Katie Verett, a sales professional with Dow AgroSciences, said her company spent years researching Enlist and seeking its approval before it finally hit the market.
"We've been talking about Enlist, and now it's here," she said.
The Environmental Protection Agency first approved Enlist Duo's registration in 2014 for genetically modified corn and soybeans in six states. The federal agency expanded its registration to other states, then to genetically modified cotton.
Enlist Duo-friendly cotton was available last year in limited supplies, and through PhytoGen will be available in several varieties this spring.
Dotray also described certain restrictions with Enlist Duo applications: Don't mix other herbicides in the tank and spray them at the same time, don't spray by plane, don't spray when wind speeds are above 15 miles per hour, don't spray while traveling faster than 15 miles per hour, don't spray when there's a temperature inversion and maintain a 30-foot buffer downwind so applications don't damage susceptible crops.
"Growers need to be extremely careful because we want to ensure that this herbicide doesn't drift and damage other crops," Dotray said. "It's a good herbicide, but they need to be very, very careful if they decide to use it. This is one option than can help, but we have to use it carefully."
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