DES MOINES, Iowa – After glyphosate and atrazine, 2,4-D is the most used herbicide in America. 15 years of glyphosate usage has had an unfortunate side effect: glyphosate-resistant weeds. Enter Dow’s Enlist weed control system; seeds intended for use with a new herbicide combining 2,4-D and glyphosate.
“Weed control is really changing at the farmer level, especially in Iowa,” says Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist Commercial Leader Damon Palmer. He says Enlist Duo, the herbicide half of the Enlist equation, is an improvement over all glyphosate, all the time.
“So as we’ve seen the acres of those types of problems increase, Dow AgroSciences has been developing the Enlist weed control system.” Palmer says. “That will build on and improve glyphosate, to provide farmers a tool they can utilize in the future.”
Now the comment period on USDA’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement is over, and Enlist’s future looks bright. Palmer points not only to USDA’s endorsement of deregulating Enlist, but also to a full 15,000 petition signatures, along with general comments, in support of the product.
“You know, it’s very humbling to see some of their comments,” says Palmer, “to talk about the weed control issues they’ve got on their farms, how they need new tools, and how Enlist can fit into their farming operations. ”
Some commenters did express concerns, but Palmer feels such misgivings were well addressed, both in prior agency decisions and in USDA’s recent “virtual public meeting” online to field questions on GMOs and 2,4-D.
“USDA did a good job in their Q&A of saying that [2,4-D] has been a product that has been utilized over the past 60 years,” Palmer says. “When you utilize it according to label directions, it is safe.
“As far as the biotech side of things, biotech has been deemed safe by many organizations, including FDA, so that’s probably where the more negative comments have been, but those are things that are pretty well accepted when it comes to 2,4-D, and the use, and biotech, they’re pretty well accepted as being safe.”
Palmer also pointed out that a once-over of the comments did not reveal any new concerns that regulatory agencies hadn’t already examined.
Pending approval, Enlist corn and soybeans are set for a 2015 launch.