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New BASF herbicide planned for 2010

Farmers will soon have another tool to battle herbicide-resistant weeds.

BASF officials gave details on its Kixor herbicide technology slated for 2010 at a media seminar this week in Washington, D.C.

"We believe it will be a new blockbuster herbicide," says Peter Eckes, senior vice president, global research and development for BASF's crop protection division. In the ag chemical industry, blockbuster compounds are often referred to as those capable of garnering over $100 million or 100 million euros in revenues.

BASF first announced plans for this technology last September at its Limburgerhof, Germany, headquarters, when it just had a compound name: BAS 800H.

The Kixor active ingredient is a PPO inhibitor that features a new mode of action. It aims mainly at broadleaves, including weeds like giant ragweed and marestail that have become resistant in some cases to glyphosate, triazines, and ALS inhibitors. There will be no crop rotational restrictions for the technology that will be used on 30 crops, including corn and soybeans.

"The product delivers fast broadleaf burndown, has good overall residual activity in the soil, and gives season-long broadleaf control," says Eckes. Kixor also has excellent crop safety, he adds.

In corn and sorghum, Kixor will be applied preemergence. It will be a preplant burndown in soybeans, cereals, cotton, and legumes. It can be used alone or in combinations with glyphosate in the preplant burndown option.

In the late 1990s, BASF considered dumping its herbicide research. "I remember in 1996, when Roundup Ready was launched in North America," recalls Michael Heinz, president of BASF crop protection division. "At first, there was denial, saying it wouldn't happen, there would be yield drag."

However, the glyphosate-tolerant momentum kept rolling. "A couple years later, we sat together and asked ourselves, 'should we exit herbicide research?'" says Heinz. "But if we did that, it would take a long time to get back in the game (if matters changed)." I believe in a renaissance of herbicides due to constant use of glyphosate after glyphosate after glyphosate."

BASF concentrated its herbicide research on compounds to fill gaps for weeds that have become resistant and/or tolerant to glyphosate, such as giant ragweed, marestail and waterhemp.

"Glyphosate is not bulletproof anymore, due to those problematic weeds to control," says Markus Heldt, group vice president for BASF's North American crop protection division. "We see Kixor bringing faster, sharper, and more broadleaf control to the market."

BASF plans to submit the Kixor technology to U.S. regulators with a planned launch date of 2010, pending regulatory approval. Kixor will be the umbrella brand for five combinations of the product for its 2010 planned launch. There will solo versions of Kixor, along with premixes with imidazolinones and other chemistries.

Farmers will soon have another tool to battle herbicide-resistant weeds.

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