Now that soybeans with Enlist technology have been commercialized, LSU AgCenter weed scientists are able to fully evaluate the product.
AgCenter weed scientists Daniel Stephenson and Donnie Miller studied Enlist soybeans before they hit the market, but now they are expanding their research of the Enlist system, which withstands the 2,4-D herbicide that can combat glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth.
“Now that they are commercialized, it is allowing us to design Louisiana-specific research protocols,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson, based at the Dean Lee Research Station in Alexandria, and Miller, working from the Northeast Research Station in St. Joseph, test several herbicides to find how they work with various insecticides and seed technologies that Louisiana farmers may use.
“Our primary focus is to identify any negative isses before the producer gets their hands on products,” Miller said. “Because I can identify those pitfalls on a 25-foot plot rather than them put it out on thousands of acres and see a problem.”
Louisiana farmers have not battled herbicide-resistant weeds to the same extent as producers in neighboring states, Stephenson said.
“The sheer number of weed species has forced our growers to be diversified in the way they manage weeds,” Stephenson said. “That’s why the onset of resistance has been slower than in the other states, in my opinion, the diversity of what we have been forced to do.”
Louisiana does have a problem with glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth that continues to expand in acreage, Stephenson said. Waterhemp has also been found to be resistant to glyphosate. 2, 4-D and Xtend are technologies AgCenter researchers are studying as a potential solutions to increasing resistance problems.
Stephenson is studying Liberty Link, soybeans resistant to glyphosate and gluphosinate, which is another technology that has come online in recent years
“We are trying to find ways to control weeds, whether the weed is herbicide resistant or not,” Stephenson said. “Farmers need to view the dicamba and 2,4-D technologies as tools they can use, not as ‘silver bullets.’ A program approach must be utilized to manage weeds.”
All pesticides have the potential to move off-target if applied improperly, Stephenson said.
“Unfortunately, there have been numerous cases of off-target movement of dicamba in surrounding states as well as in Louisiana,” he said. “Farmers must take steps to prevent off-target movement by following the label application instructions for all pesticides, not just dicamba and 2,4-D,” Stephenson said.
Louisiana has not experienced the issues with drift that have been reported in Arkansas and other states, Miller said.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture