The biggest new development on the horizon for Dow Seeds corn and soybeans is the Enlist weed control system.
Enlist corn and soybean seeds will be tolerant to both glyphosate (Group 9) and 2,4-D (Group 2). “We’ll be adding the additional tolerance of 2,4-D to the glyphosate trait that’s already in corn and soybeans,” says Jeff Loessin, Dow Seeds Canada general manager.
The herbicide will be called Enlist Duo.
“It will add additional broadleaf weed control to corn and soybeans over what is currently delivered by glyphosate.” The Enlist system will also allow farmers to control glyphosate-tolerant volunteer canola in soyeans.
“Wild buckwheat is another weed that tends to be a challenge for glyphosate to control,” says Loessin. “Our herbicide solution Enlist Duo will perform extremely well on wild buckwheat.” It will also control dandelion and Canada thistle. “All those tough broadleaf weeds that farmers tend to have in corn and soybeans.”
The products are registered in Canada; Dow is still waiting for some overseas approvals. “We continue to work our way through the regulatory approvals in import countries,” says Loessin.
“We’re in the queue in the near term for our corn traits, and we’re continuing to work away on the soybean traits, but they’re probably going to lag a year behind the corn.”
“Our plan is to market new corn hybrids that will fit Western Canada’s growing area with this Enlist weed control trait included in them, to give people that extra weed control.”
Along with releasing the new products, Dow is planning a stewardship program to help preserve the new technology.
“One of the things that Western Canada has going for us is our crop rotation. If utilized right, the Enlist weed control system will be a critical part of that,” says Loessin.
But, as with any herbicide, if Enlist Duo is overused or used improperly, resistance to 2,4-D could result. “If farmers rely too heavily on the glyphosate tolerant cropping system, then our recommendation is that you include not just the Enlist Weed Control system… but you also look at your options to include an additional mode of action in the burn-off application, or through the use of a soil-applied residual herbicide that can also provide that additional mode of action that extends into the season.”
“The challenge with Western Canada,” says Loessin, “is that there is not as many herbicide options available as out in Eastern Canada, for example, or down in the U.S. But there still is some good viable options that can add that mode of action into the weed control regime.”
Herbicide resistance is an expensive risk. “Once you rely too heavily on a single molecule or even a couple of molecules, you can develop resistance.
“So we want to make sure that we’re introducing the weed control system with the stewardship component to ensure that people are aware up front of some of the things that they can do to help provide some longevity to the system to that it maintains its usefulness on the farm.”
“It’s a risk for us, but it’s also a risk for agriculture if we lose these tools,” says Loessin.