Dicamba makes a comeback

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Dicamba is making a comeback in North American fields.

This time, the chemical’s popularity will come though resistant genetics that will be stacked with other resistance traits, including for diseases and glyphosate.

BASF’s dicamba has been around since the 1960s and remains a popular broadleaf weed control in cereal crops, either on its own as Banvel, as a generic product from Gharda or most commonly as a component of tank mixes and pre-mix products.

Matt Helms of Monsanto told farmers attending Nashville’s Commodity Classic conference last week that the company has built transgenic dicamba resistance into its top yielding soybean varieties and plans to extend that to cotton, canola and corn.

“We can’t be specific in release dates, but it’s safe to say it’s a few years away,” Helms said.

“But soybeans will be the first crop in Canada, then later on canola.”

The new soybeans are part of the company’s Roundup Ready 2 Yield Xtend system, and producers will use the glyphosate and dicamba product as a post emergent weed control tool.

Dicamba provides residual control for late flushes of weeds that come along after the initial in-crop application, as well as control of non-Xtend broadleaf volunteers and glyphosate resistant and later stage weeds.

“It also provides farmers with some residual control in-season, especially when it’s dry at spraying time and rain comes later on, causing new flushes of weeds,” Helms said.

“And it offers multiple modes of action, important in avoiding resistance issues.”

The new product will offer groups 4 and 9. The BASF component is a new formulation of dicamba that reduces its volatility and will be packaged with specific application instructions on the label.

Paul Rea, vice-president of U.S. Crop Protection, said improving upon existing chemistries is an important part of business for chemical companies.

“New active ingredients are getting fewer and further between.… Each one costs about $275 million and takes from eight to 10 years to get to market,” said Rea.

“This is an existing product with a great track record. And we can improve its usefulness by ensuring it is (applied) with the best possible practices.”

The new dicamba, dubbed Engenia, will be combined with glyphosate and delivered with a producer education program to ensure proper use of the new product.


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