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Tech Tuesday

Back to the 'Oldies but Goodies'

There's new biotechnology coming to market in the next two or three seasons that rely on some very familiar products.

There's a saying: "Everything old is new again." Of course, the older I get the more things seem to come back around, and that's usually in fashion (in my house the rule is if you're old enough to remember a fashion trend the first time it came through, you're too old to wear it). This return to the 'oldies' is happening in crop protection due in part to new biotech traits.

Keeping up with weed control is no easy task, as a lot of farmers know. Changing modes of action is the best way to get the job done, but that can be a challenge. Within the next couple of years you'll be relying on some great chemistry: dicamba or 2,4-D for example.

That's right the hottest new herbicide tolerance technology coming to market will rely on very familiar chemistries.

Dow AgroSciences is working on its DHT (for Dow AgroSciences Herbicide Tolerance) trait that confers tolerance on a range of products including 2,4-D, MCPA and others. This trait, which we may see in corn first, is being targeted for several crop types including cotton. And the range of herbicide tolerance offered will give you more options.

Chances are this new-fangled biotech relying on legacy chemistry from Dow AgroSciences will also be mated with their Herculex products for above- and below-ground bug control. That would be a potent package.

Dicamba too

Meanwhile, Monsanto is at work on dicamba tolerance technology, which a new study shows works well against glyphosate-tolerant weeds. The 11-state field experiments were conducted to evaluate broadleaf weed management programs in dicamba-resistant soybeans.

That study was conducted by a long list of well-known weed specialists including Bill Johnson from Purdue, Bryan Young from Southern Illinois University and Reid Smeda from the University of Missouri. The big news was the effectiveness of the dicamba-resistant crop which also has glyphosate resistance. Using the two crop protection products together showed greater control of the glyphosate-resistant forms of palmer amaranth, common waterhemp, horseweed (or marestail) and giant ragweed when compared to sequentially applied glyphosate.

While the fashion rules say you don't want to wear clothes from a trend you may remember the first time around, turning to proven, legacy chemistries for weed control will be something to consider. DHT is targeted for market release in 2012 for corn, and 2013 or 2014 for soybeans (according to a Dow corporate release). Monsanto is targeting 2013 for dicamba-tolerant soybeans, but did submit its USDA regulatory package over the summer.

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