When Bayer CropScience heard that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may approve Huskie, its new HPPD inhibitor broadleaf herbicide at least a year earlier than expected, the company was caught off-guard.
"Registration may be coming earlier than we expected," says David Feist, BCS cereals profile marketing manager.
But most of the application work is completed, including the important use parameters for producers.
Label timing information will likely advise ground, aerial (drift risk is low, she says) and possibly irrigation application between the first leaf and up to the flag leaf emergence of the crop. Huskie becomes rain-fast in an hour, estimates Mary Paulsgrove, BCS cereals product development manager.
"I have been excited about this meeting for two years," she said during a "technology launch summit" of the product in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho last November.
"The EPA loves this kind of product," she says of the herbicide which will likely carry a "caution" label. "It isn't genotoxic, oncongenic or mutagenic, and overall has a very, very favorable environmental profile." Huskie, has a 7-31 agricultural soil half-life, and its rapid degeneration offsets any potential of downward movement in the soil, she says.
That is an environmental plus, but also means re-cropping options are very flexible.
The lower rate is what most growers would use, she adds. While some tests show Huskie performs even better on some weeds at higher rates, an equal boost appears to be given by adding nitrogen fertilizer (UAN or AMS) to the mix. The nitrogen products improve the efficiency of herbicide uptake. Only one application of Huskie per year will be labeled.
Huskie, in effect, "toasts the weed," she says, by stopping photosynthesis.
Perhaps the biggest news to a lot of growers is that the product reportedly performs like a champ against kochia. In fields with a very high population of kochia, adding AMS to the mix boosts kill to 94% in tests, impressively above the 87% using Huskie by itself.
After conducting 30 Huskie trials in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, "we are still behind the 8-ball" in terms of conducting intended plot work, says Dean Christie, BCS technical service representative in Spokane, Wash.
Overall, his trials show "very dramatic control of prickly lettuce, mayweed, kochia and Russian thistle," among others in the PNW, reports Christie. The product is catching national attention as well.
Predicting that Huskie "will have a profound affect in weed control," North Carolina State researcher Alan York says a new mode of action broadleaf cereal herbicide can play a pivotal role in arresting resistant weed problems prevalent in southern states.
For more on Huskie see the January issue of Western Farmer-Stockman.