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Enlist packs a double punch

By now, most have probably heard of Enlist, Dow AgroSciences’ new weed control cropping system that will launch in corn in 2013 and in soybeans in 2015. For those who haven’t, in a nutshell, it combines glyphosate tolerance with 2,4-D tolerance.

As impressive as 2,4-D tolerance is, perhaps even more impressive is Dow’s new proprietary 2,4-D formulation. Powered by Colex-D technology, this stuff is powerful, but it also has low volatilization properties and minimized drift potential.

At launch, Enlist will be paired with a new herbicide called Enlist Duo. Damon Palmer, Dow’s U.S. lead for Enlist, explains that Enlist Duo is a combination of glyphosate and a new 2,4-D choline.

Key Points

The Enlist system offers both glyphosate and 2,4-D tolerance in corn and soybeans.

Dow’s new Enlist Duo herbicide combines glyphosate and a new 2,4-D choline.

The new system is set to launch in corn in 2013 and in soybeans in 2015.

The 2,4-D choline component of Enlist Duo will provide growers with a powerful boost to a traditional glyphosate-only postemergence weed control program. Dow representatives are excited about the herbicide’s potential to control difficult weeds, such as Palmer amaranth, marestail and waterhemp.

Reduced drift, volatilization

Of course, many growers are well aware of 2,4-D’s propensity for drift- and volatilization-related damage. Dow has conducted numerous tests with its new formulation of 2,4-D. Thus far, everything indicates this isn’t the 2,4-D of the past.

In volatilization tests, Dow placed a 4-times rate of Enlist Duo versus traditional formulations of 2,4-D and glyphosate in the row with soybeans and cotton. Scientists then placed a hood over the row and created artificially warm and humid conditions.

In the highly volatile environment, the damage to cotton and soybeans was significant when using past 2,4-D formulations. With the Colex-D technology, damage was negligible.

Enlist is still pending regulatory approval. Palmer expects it will be commercially available in corn for the 2013 season. For soybeans, expect commercialization in 2015. Cotton should follow shortly.

No tank mixing

With Enlist set to enter the mainstream in 2013, there is one concern with the new cropping system. Growers may be tempted to tank mix their own concoction of 2,4-D and glyphosate for use with Enlist crops.

Palmer notes that while the Enlist trait confers tolerance to the 2,4-D acid, this practice is not recommended, nor will it be allowed according to Dow’s stewardship program and grower agreements. Not to mention, forgoing Enlist Duo for a tankmixed herbicide will not provide the same level of weed control and reduced off-target benefits, which are the shining attributes of this crop system.

Bryan Young, a weed specialist with Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, says southern Illinois has confirmed three glyphosate-resistant weeds to date: marestail, waterhemp and Palmer amaranth. Additionally, many suspect there are resistant populations of giant ragweed.

For many central Illinois farmers, this was the first year they dealt with glyphosate resistance. Problems controlling waterhemp have reached “train wreck” proportions, Young says. He expects that in just three years, more than 70% of Illinois fields will be combatting glyphosate-resistant waterhemp.

Enlist soybean tolerance.tif

TOLERANT: The conventional soybeans on the left could not stand up to the power of Enlist Duo herbicide. The tolerant plants on the right were unhindered by it.

This article published in the October, 2011 edition of PRAIRIE FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.