In a conference call with the media this morning (November 17, 2017), BASF executives reported very positive feedback from most of the growers they talked to regarding weed control and yield when using Engenia herbicide on dicamba tolerant (DT) soybeans and cotton.
Scott Kay, BASF Vice President for US Crop Protection, said growers rated the weed control from Engenia an 8.6 (10 being the best control). “These growers will not only use it again, but would recommend it to their neighbors,” he said.
Regarding off-target drift issues, Kay said BASF field reps investigated 787 soybean symptomology claims during the 2017 season, most of which had no impact on yield. “I talked to many growers in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana to learn their best practices with the Engenia system. The common thread we learned that was critical to application success centered around four keys: 1) Follow the application checklist and have a plan; 2) use approved nozzles (we gave away over 700,000 nozzles); 3) understand the crops grown nearby and talk to your neighbors; and 4) work with their local BASF rep and attend training sessions.”
Kay believes these success stories were largely unheard this year, especially given this weed control success along with higher soybean and cotton yields in the U.S. In a press release, the company stated that, while farmers are still finishing harvest, USDA forecasts 2017 soybean production at a record 4.43 billion bushels or 3 percent higher than last year. Soybean yields in key states such as Arkansas and Missouri are also projected to be at or above last year’s record levels. And 2017 national cotton yields are expected to be higher than 2016, up 33 pounds from last year.
Chad Asmus, BASF Technical Market Manager, talked about how the company is pleased with the label changes they worked on with the EPA, especially with regard to increased spray training and the fact that Engenia is now a Restricted-Use Pesticide – for use only by Certified Applicators. The new label adds requirements for spray application training, record keeping, wind speed limitations, application timing restrictions and more.
“BASF plans to expand the Engenia On Target Application Academy, our application training program, to make it even easier to get information about how to properly apply crop protection products and use best practices,” Asmus stated in the news release.
“Developing a fact- and science-based recommendation that focuses on a long-term solution for farmers remains a critical part of working together,” he stated. “That’s why we recently met with weed scientists from across the country to share 2017 season results and work collaboratively on a path forward.”
Application materials in both English and Spanish will be available at in-person training sessions and through enhanced mobile applications. Growers can also expect more equipment application incentives involving boom height and sprayer hoods to be added to the nozzle and direction injection program.
BASF also talked about the ”few isolated cases where yield may have been affected” that happened where the terminal growth of the crop was inhibited. Main causes cited include:
· Incorrect nozzle and/or boom height
· Wind speed or direction
· Insufficient buffer
· Spray system contamination
· Use of unregistered product
· Application during temperature inversion
While any combination of these factors could influence off-target movement, product volatilization isn’t deemed to be a cause. “Based on our field investigations, we don’t believe volatilization is an issue with Engenia,” Kay said.
Regarding the recent special local needs label issued by the Missouri Department of Agriculture (no spraying Engenia in 2018 after June 1 in 10 counties in southeast Missouri and no spraying after July 15 for the rest of the state), Kay said they continue to work with the state, but couldn’t speak to specifics of the Missouri ruling.
“We’re committed to work together with weed scientists and everyone involved to make sure Engenia succeeds in 2018. The bottom line is that Kay said he expects a much better experience will be had in 2018 when the new label is followed.
The 2018 season is the second in the two-year temporary registration granted by the EPA to Engenia, FeXapan and XtendiMax dicamba labels.