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What You Need to Know About Balance Bean

It’s the herbicide for the Balance GT Soybean Performance System.

If you want to plant Balance GT soybeans, you’ll likely have to wait. All import approvals for Balance GT soybeans have been received. However, the herbicide component of the Balance GT Soybean Performance System – Balance Bean – still must be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  So far, that hasn’t happened as the clock ticks toward the 2018 growing season.

Dual Tolerance

The Balance GT Soybean Performance System is a collaboration between MS Technologies, Bayer, and Mertec LLC. Isoxaflutole, one of Balance Bean’s active ingredients, is also in Bayer corn herbicides like Balance Flexx.

The system is a competitor to Monsanto’s Roundup Ready 2 Xtend (dicamba and glyphosate tolerance) and Dow AgroScience’s Enlist Weed Control Ssytem. Its Enlist soybeans and Enlist E3 soybeans tolerate 2,4-D choline, glyphosate, and glufosinate. Monsanto fully launched the Xtend system in 2017. U.S. farmers may access Enlist E3 soybeans for 2018 planting through an agreement between Dow and ADM.

“One factor that separates Balance Bean from the 2,4-D- and dicamba-tolerant systems is it has activity on both grasses and broadleaves,” says Mark Waddington, Bayer CropScience product development manager.

Bayer officials say Balance Bean testing demonstrates control of grasses like woolly cupgrass, as well as glyphosate-, triazine-, PPO-, and ALS-resistant weeds such as 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.

Other preemergence residual herbicides may be mixed with Balance Bean. “Like any residual herbicide, it needs at least some amount of moisture in the soil to activate,” says Waddington.

One plus for Balance Bean, says Waddington, is its reactivation property.

“When you hit a dry spell, a traditional residual herbicide will stop working, even if you get a rain a few weeks later. If you have two weeks of a dry spell and then get rain (at least ½ inch), Balance Bean then reactivates.”

Depending on precipitation and other environmental conditions, Balance Bean’s residual benefit lasts six to eight weeks, he says.

A postemergence herbicide is recommended with Balance Bean, says Waddington.

Besides managing late-emerging weeds, it also can add additional modes of action to forestall resistance, he says. Balance Bean will have a 2- to 3-ounce-per-acre use rate, says Waddington.

“Farmers are used to carrying around quarts and pints (per acre),” he says. “A 2- to 3-ounce-per-acre use rate is easier to handle.

“Another difference we bring to market is the safety factor,” he continues. Since isoxaflutole is a nonvolatile compound, it won’t move off target due to volatility.

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 Balance GT soybean commercialization. Company officials are planning a commercial launch in 2019, pending regulatory approval.

Seed Component

Bayer and MS Technologies plan to license the seed technology in the system in the U.S. and Canada. So far, more than 45 seed companies have signed on as soybean licensees in the system once final approvals are in place.

Officials for Bayer and MS Technologies say they plan to get the seed technology in the hands of as many farmers as possible.

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