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Recordkeeping becomes critical with herbicide-tolerant crops

Recordkeeping becomes critical with herbicide-tolerant crops
More herbicide tolerant crops, like Enlist and Xtend, are on the way soon.

Many farmers can't wait for the new wave of herbicide tolerant crops to be approved and fully launched so that they will have more weed control options to deal with resistant weeds. Dow AgroSciences is introducing the Enlist Duo system with tolerance to Enlist, an improved formulation of 2,4-D with choline as the active ingredient, in a limited form this year.

Related: USDA approves Monsanto's dicamba-tolerant GMO soy, cotton traits

Recently Monsanto announced that USDA had deregulated the Xtend trait. Xtend herbicide will be available for Xtend soybeans once EPA approves registration of the herbicide. What was deregulated was the crop with a trait that allows Xtend to be sprayed over the top.

Which technology? You won't be able to tell which herbicide-tolerant traits, if any, a crop possesses by looking. Careful records about what is planted where will be your best option, David Taylor says.

Meanwhile BASF announced the same deregulation for their dicamba-tolerant soybeans that will eventually be sprayed with Engenia herbicide.

Roundup Ready and Liberty Link soybean and corn are already on the market. In fact sales of Liberty Link soybeans were up for some companies this winter as farmers look for alternatives to controlling tough weeds like Palmer amaranth.

The question is with two out now, and already some mistakes showing up every year where the wrong product was sprayed on the wrong field, how will farmers and retailers deal with keeping things straight once there are twice as many resistant crops available.

In the coffee shop, it is known as Palmer pigweed. In university circles, it is referred to as Palmer amaranth. Whatever you want to call it, this weed is the No. 1 weed to watch. Stay on top of your control plan with our new free report, Palmer Amaranth: Understanding the Profit Siphon in your Field.

David Taylor, an agronomist with Harvest Land Co-op in east central Indiana and an Indiana Certified Crop adviser, believes the major part of the answer is recordkeeping. "You need documentation of varieties planted on a field by field basis," he says.

Related: Don't Confuse RoundupReady Xtend and Enlist Crop Systems

He also says you will need a protocol for cleaning out the planter when you switch from one technology to another. And he suggests keeping a running logbook where planting history is recorded that includes fields, varieties and clean-out events. He suggests it will be important to have this logbook in the tractor form start to finish each season. Careful recordkeeping will be a key to avoiding mistakes, Taylor believes.

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