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Balance GT Soybean Performance System Full-Scale Launch Likely for 2018 Growing Season

Chinese import approval is favorable factor for product launch. EPA approval is still needed for the system’s herbicide, though.

If you want to plant Balance GT soybeans, that plan got closer this week.

China announced this week it has granted import approval to Balance GT soybeans. With all import approvals now received, officials for Bayer CropScience and MS Technologies say being able to plant Balance GT soybeans is one step closer to realization.

However, the herbicide component of the Balance GT Soybean Performance System — Balance Bean — still must be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for U.S. farmers to use the system. Company officials are currently in talks with EPA, with a full-scale launch of the system most likely for 2018, they say.

Dual Tolerance

Balance GT soybeans contain a trait that tolerates both glyphosate and isoxaflutole. Bayer CropScience corn herbicides like Balance Flexx and Corvus contain isoxaflutole as an active ingredient. Isoxaflutole has an HPPD inhibitor site of action that also includes mesotrione, the active ingredient in Syngenta’s Callisto corn herbicide.  

Bayer and MS Technologies plan to license the technology broadly in the U.S. and Canada.

“We plan to have it in the hands as many growers as possible,” says Lindsey Seitz, brand manager for MS Technologies “The genetics of Balance GT soybeans will be exceptional.”

Bayer officials say Balance Bean testing demonstrates control of grasses like woolly cupgrass, as well as glyphosate-, triazine-, PPO-, and ALS-resistant weeds like resistant marestail, common ragweed, waterhemp, and Palmer amaranth. The final list of controlled weeds will be determined upon EPA registration.

The application window for Balance Bean doesn’t include postemergence. Instead, applications can be made for burndown or before planting (as much as 21 days prior to planting) up to emergence. Company officials say Balance Bean features reactivation technology that provides residual control upon .5 inch of rainfall.

Balance Bean also is a nonvolatile herbicide, compared with the new low-volatile formulations that accompany the dicamba- and 2,4-D-tolerant systems. (All systems are go in 2017 for Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System that features tolerance to dicamba and glyphosate. Dow AgroSciences is waiting for Chinese approval for crops in its Enlist Weed Control System that features tolerance to 2,4-D and glyphosate.)  

Initially, Balance GT soybeans will tolerate glyphosate and isoxaflutole. Plans are for a triple herbicide-tolerant stack of glyphosate, isoxaflutole, and glufosinate (Liberty) to debut after the commercialization of the Balance GT soybeans. The brand name will be Balance GTLL soybeans.

Also in the works is an effort by Bayer and Syngenta to confer tolerance to isoxaflutole and mesotrione on soybeans. This product is slated to debut later this decade, say company officials.


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