MS, Bayer Plan New Soybean Herbicide Trait

Balance Bean herbicide, an HPPD inhibitor, is new mode of herbicide action for soybeans.

Published on: Mar 7, 2013

Farmers will soon be able to spray an isoxaflutole-based herbicide over soybeans to kill tough weeds. In 2015, MS Technologies and Bayer CropScience will offer Balance GT, which features a stacked-trait tolerance to glyphosate and isoxaflutole.

Announced at the 2013 Commodity Classic in Kissimmee, Fla., the new system will feature the Balance Bean herbicide, an HPPD inhibitor, a new mode of herbicide action for soybeans. As a burndown or pre- or post-emergence product, it works on a broad spectrum of grasses and broadleaf weeds, similar to Bayer's Balance Flexx herbicide for corn, said Eric Peters, Bayer's soybean herbicide product manager.

The herbicide has residual qualities, too, reactivated in the soil by rainfall to be taken up by roots, killing late-emerging weeds up to two inches tall. How long that residual opportunity lasts is yet to be pinpointed as trials continue with the new herbicide, he said.

MS, Bayer Plan New Soybean Herbicide Trait
MS, Bayer Plan New Soybean Herbicide Trait

Over the last three years, MS evaluated more than 40,000 unique lines to find high-performing varieties to couple with the Balance GT trait. Pending regulatory approval, the plan is to release 56 commercial varieties in 2015 to U.S. and Canada growers, with an anticipated 200 more varieties to come, ranging in maturity zones 0-4, said Lauren August, brand manager for MS Technologies.

"Wherever I go, the story is consistent. When I talk to growers in the South they are experiencing herbicide-resistant weeds … When I speak with growers in the North, they may not be experiencing resistant weeds now, but they've certainly heard about it and they realize what they are doing now may need to change," said August.

Balance GT as it is now is just the first step, she said. In the future, it will come as a triple-stack trait, including tolerance to glyphosate, isoxaflutole but also to glufosinate, or the primary action in Liberty herbicide.