Will 2019 be big year for Enlist soybeans?

PROSPER, N.D. -- When the Philippines approved the import of the Enlist soybean traits, it was a game-changer for soybean growers and seed sellers for the 2019 crop.

Carl Peterson, president of Peterson Farms Seed of Harwood, N.D,. says the Philippine government approval of the importation of the new Enlist soybean varieties came late, but still in time to supply growers for 2019. Photo taken Feb. 27, 2019, at Harwood, N.D. (Forum News Service/Agweek/Mikkel Pates)

PROSPER, N.D. - When the Philippines approved the import of the Enlist soybean traits, it was a game-changer for soybean growers and seed sellers for the 2019 crop.

Enlist E3 is a brand of Corteva Agriscience, an agricultural division of DowDuPont. Enlist is a genetically-modified trait for soybeans that provides tolerance to weed killers 2,4-D choline, as well as Liberty (glufosinate) and Roundup (glyphosate).

Enlist soybeans can be treated with Enlist One and Enlist Duo herbicides. Enlist One is 2,4-D choline with additional tank-mix flexibility. Enlist Duo is a blend of 2,4-D choline and glyphosate.

Andrew Thostenson, a North Dakota State University Extension Service pesticide application specialist, says the Enlist system is another tool to battle herbicide-resistant weeds. He says it's an incredibly simplified label, and is easier to use when compared with some other technologies. He says the record-keeping, tank-mix contamination and compatibility issues are much simpler than for dicamba-resistant soybeans.

Keith Rekow, Langford, S.D., district sales manager for Dairyland Seed, part of DowAgrosciences Corteva, says he thinks the Enlist system is one of the most unique new products for soybean growers in 30 years.


"The most excitement is the new molecule with the 2,4-D," he says.

"No additional training needed," Rekow says, referring to Enlist. "It's not a restricted use chemical."

He says the approval has come in time for 2019 sales.

"People will try a few acres," regardless of the later time frame in the selling season. Some will probably use it in areas of resistant waterhemp weed problems, or near shelterbelts and other sensitive areas, he says.

Big commitment

Carl Peterson, president of Peterson Farms Seed, Inc., of Harwood, N.D., says his company has made a big commitment to Enlist E3 technology. Farmers have seen an accumulation of weed challenges with weed resistance to herbicides in the past decade. Enlist had been approved for use in the U.S. and Canada for four years, in Europe for two years, but U.S. companies held off commercialization until full approval in all key markets, including China's approval in January, and the Philippines on Feb. 21.

Peterson Farms Seed started testing the technology in 2015. DowDupont allowed Peterson Farms Seed to demonstrate the seed plots throughout North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota in 2018, but the plots had to be mowed down before harvest.

Delayed sales


"Last year, we sat down and said 'How much of this do we dare produce?'" Peterson recalls. "We said, 'Our customers need it. They want it. We're going to step out and produce significant quantities.' And that's what we did."

Typically, most soybean seed is sold earlier in the winter, Peterson says. This year, many farmers held back on soybeans because of the trade war's impact on soybean prices. Some weren't in the mood to buy soybean seed because weather had delayed harvest into December.

Peterson acknowledges Enlist seed will come at a premium cost, but notes it isn't "at the top of the price range, either."

In addition to good yield, he thinks a big selling point is ease of use.

"There aren't any temperature restrictions for the Enlist products, no time-of-day restrictions, the downwind restrictions are less onerous than some of the other technologies and there's no date cut-off" for application, as there has been with dicamba, he says.

Peterson Farms Seed and Corteva will hold a series of eight informational meetings about the technology starting March 5 in Litchfield, Minn., to March 15, in Jamestown, N.D. For information, go to .

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