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Filling the glyphosate gap

Phil Hofer, Bridgewater, South Dakota, loves growing corn. "There's nothing better than seeing a picket fence stand of corn," he says.

An ethanol plant 12 miles away is one reason he's moved from a corn/soybean rotation toward more corn/corn/soybeans.

Still, soybeans are important, as the broken pest cycles from two years of corn have helped Hofer bump soybean yields an extra four to five bushels per acre. He's embraced corn and soybean traits, including glyphosate-tolerant ones. He plants all Roundup Ready soybeans and all Roundup Ready Corn 2. He supplements the glyphosate-tolerant corn with a residual herbicide.

Glyphosate-tolerant corn is zooming toward the 90%-plus use rate of glyphosate-tolerant soybeans. Monsanto projections show glyphosate-tolerant corn plantings rising from 64% of corn acres in 2007 to around 85% in 2010. This assumes corn acreage stays similar.

The downside is that regular use selects for weeds resistant to glyphosate and shifts weed spectrums. Providing alternative and complementary chemistry to glyphosate is pumping new life into weed-control traits and herbicides.

Following is a smattering of some new weed-control technology on the way.

Phil Hofer, Bridgewater, South Dakota, loves growing corn. "There's nothing better than seeing a picket fence stand of corn," he says.

Pioneer Hi-Bred International and its parent company, DuPont, will introduce a new glyphosate technology, Optimum GAT, in 2009 for soybeans and 2010 for corn. This is pending regulatory approval.

New for Dow AgroSciences in 2008 is a full-scale launch of SureStart herbicide.

Bayer CropScience is having a full-scale launch of Laudis in 2008. This postemergence corn herbicide combines broadleaf control similar to Callisto with improved grass control, say company officials. Laudis also has a proprietary corn safener that offers excellent crop safety and flexibility for growing popcorn, sweet corn, and seed corn. Its residual qualities can be aided by adding .5 pounds per acre of atrazine at application, says Owen.

Monsanto is having a major expansion of its YieldGard VT Triple that it marketed across 1.5 million acres in 2007. This triple stack, which resists glyphosate, corn rootworm, and European corn borer, uses VecTran technology. Monsanto officials say this technology more precisely inserts multiple traits in a single gene site. They add that this boosts consistency and pest control compared to first-generation YieldGard products.

Syngenta will offer its quad stack, Agrisure 3000GT, in 2008. This merges its glyphosate-resistant trait (Agrisure GT) with LibertyLink, corn rootworm, and European corn borer-resistance traits.

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