Soybean growers have options with herbicides
Choices abound in the soybean seed market with new combinations of traits for herbicide tolerance, giving growers many options but also more factors to consider when selecting varieties.
“Choice is good,” said David Thompson, national marketing and sales director for Stine Seed Company based in Iowa. “But it does add a layer of complexity.”
With glyphosate tolerance remaining the foundational trait in soybean varieties, companies are stacking additional traits for added weed protection. BASF’s LibertyLink brings tolerance to glufosinate, BayerMonsato’s Xtend technology confers dicamba tolerance and MS Technologies’ GT27 trait offers tolerance to a new HPPD/Group 27 herbicide that once approved for use in soybeans will be an option for burndown and pre-emergence weed control.
Corteva’s Enlist E3 trait package, which adds tolerance to 2, 4-D, is likely the next product to see a wide rollout on the market once it receives official acceptance in the Phillipines.
Seed companies are marketing varieties with two and in some cases three of these tolerance traits to give growers flexibility in fighting herbicide resistant weeds, but it also means good records are needed what product is planted and where to avoid disaster from applying the wrong herbicide.
For seedsmen, it means focusing on what the grower’s goals are and being clear about what is available.
“I’m very open with these guys, the best thing I can do is give them the options,” said Greg Harris, a Preston, Md., farmer and Stine sales representative. “It’s basically meeting with customers to see what fits their farm the best.”
Chris Scuse, a DuPont Pioneer account manager in Delaware, said the path soybean traits have taken closely parallels that of the corn hybrids of a few decades ago.
They started with a single trait for herbicide tolerance and then increased protection by stacking more traits.
Now, as soybeans enter the stacked trait arena, those extra option come with more responsibility.
Scuse said they’re posting bright-colored placards on pallets of seed marking their trait packages and seed reps are well versed in explaining what growers can and can’t use on certain beans.
“We’re following that same path we did with corn it just takes a few years to get there,” Scuse said.
In future seasons, that path will likely bring even more stacked combinations to further increase growers’ flexibility, added Thompson.
New chemistry, while possible down the road, isn’t on the horizon in the short term, he said but using stacked traits effectivley can help preserve what options are available.
“Over the last few years it’s gotten harder and harder to kill weeds,” Thompson said. “The herbicide modes of action that we have today are really what we have for the foreseeable future.
“The good news for growers is they’re going to have choices.”
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