By Emily Unglesbee
DTN Staff Reporter
ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) -- A limited group of soybean growers using LL GT27 soybeans will soon have access to a corresponding HPPD herbicide, BASF's Alite 27 herbicide, which contains isoxaflutole.
The GT27 soybean trait was developed by MS Technologies to tolerate applications of glyphosate and isoxaflutole. The trait is usually stacked with the LibertyLink trait and sold as LL GT27 soybeans, which are available through several different seed companies.
On Monday, BASF received the green light from EPA to market and sell Alite 27, the only HPPD herbicide now registered for use on LL GT27 soybeans. Some small quantities of the herbicide are available for 2020, with a full commercial launch planned for 2021, BASF spokesperson Odessa Hines told DTN in an email.
"Alite 27 herbicide will be commercially available for sale to growers in registered counties during the 2021 season," Hines wrote. "However, there will be some limited demonstration product available this year... Growers interested in receiving demonstration Alite 27 should speak to their local BASF representative."
Alite 27 is a restricted use pesticide and EPA has approved its use for a very limited geography, due to concerns of exposure to certain endangered species and the potential for groundwater contamination. The herbicide is available in a small number of counties across 25 states, which together account for less than 15% of U.S. soybean acreage, according to registration documents.
BASF objected to some of these county-level restrictions during the registration process, and asked the agency to reconsider some of its data analysis.
For example, the company disagreed with EPA's decision that the herbicide cannot be used in counties adjacent to areas with an endangered species of concern. BASF maintained that a spray buffer could offset this risk, without excluding entire adjacent counties.
However, EPA said using BASF's proposed "refinements" to its analysis would require "further agency analysis and sufficient vetting, which cannot be conducted and properly vetted for their incorporation into the current action at this time."
You can find the counties where Alite 27 is legal to use at the bottom of the herbicide's new label here: https://www3.epa.gov/…. Keep in mind that no other isoxaflutole formulations are legal to use on LL GT27 soybeans.
Alite 27 is registered for use as a preplant, preemergence and postemergence herbicide, up to the R1 stage of growth, but only in GT27 soybeans. Non-GT27 soybeans will be susceptible to injury from Alite 27, the label warns.
The herbicide has residual activity and has shown good weed control when it is tank mixed with other herbicides such as glufosinate, University of Tennessee weed scientist Larry Steckel told DTN.
"It's a good one-two punch on pigweed," he said. "And it should be a big help on our grasses from a preemergence application standpoint."
Both BASF and the label recommend that Alite 27 be tank-mixed with other herbicides to reduce the risk of herbicide resistance.
"One of the biggest challenges growers face is resistant weeds, and the soybean market needed a new residual active ingredient to help fight against them," said Darren Unland, BASF Technical Marketing Manager, in the company's press release.
As a restricted use pesticide, Alite 27 can only be applied by certified applicators or people under their supervision, and its label has a long list of use restrictions, including:
--no aerial applications
--no applications through irrigation systems
--no applications when wind speeds surpass 10 mph or a temperature inversion is underway
--no applications in non-irrigated areas with less than 15 inches of rainfall
--no applications to low-organic-matter soils or soils with a pH above 7.5
--no more than two applications per growing year, for an annual maximum application rate of 3 ounces per acre
--no tank mixes with organophosphate or carbamate insecticides, and no applications within 7 days of such insecticide applications
--soil-type and water-table specific limitations on use
Read more about EPA's registration decision here: https://www.regulations.gov/….
See the BASF press release here: https://www.basf.com/….
Emily Unglesbee can be reached at Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow her on Twitter @Emily_Unglesbee
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