In addition to our mainstay Xtend and RR2Y lines, this year Renk Seed is launching Enlist E3 and Liberty GT27 varieties in larger scale quantities. Enlist E3 allows for the spraying of Enlist herbicide (a 2,4-D choline), glufosinate and glyphosate while Liberty GT27 allows for the spraying of glufosinate and glyphosate. Adding these products will provide a full gambit of weed control options.
So, which is the right option for your farm? To know, you are going to have to weigh several factors.
Let’s start with the disease package, as this might potentially be a large differentiation. The breeding data is heavily slanted towards states on the western side of the Mississippi. This could be somewhat problematic as states like Wisconsin and Michigan face a far higher threat from white mold and Phytophthora exposure. Without data from these states, it makes tolerance scores for these diseases a bit soft. This is not to say that their response to these diseases is going to be poor, but rather unproven and should signal caution.
Next, we look at yield potential across the platforms. At this point we do have head to head yield data. We are seeing an overall yield gap between Enlist and Xtend. The tables below compares Enlist versus Xtend. It also compares Liberty GT27 to Xtend. The Liberty GT27 fair much better compared to Xtend.
Keep in mind that these are overall averages and there are some significant swings in competitiveness by region. A general rule is that Enlist show better between Interstate 35 and Interstate 29 (Des Moines to Omaha). Results can be easily found on our website for those wishing to dig deeper into the data.
How about spraying programs? Pricing for our own farm for both Xtend and Enlist options was about the same this year. While the Xtendimax is slightly cheaper than Enlist One, Xtendimax requires a rather expensive water softener for it to work properly. The cost of this should be offset by the Bayer Plus Rewards program, which rebates money back as long as you use Bayer herbicides. The other nice feature of the Bayer Xtendimax herbicide program is the $15 per acre spray guarantee if you have weed escapes. But be aware, we have heard rumors that the Enlist herbicides might be priced higher, which may significantly change the price of their spraying costs.
Application of both sprays will be much more crucial than what we have grown used to in spraying Roundup. The spraying of Xtend soybeans received a lot of bad publicity when sprayed under temperature inversion conditions. This occurs when warmer temperatures are found above the ground than at the ground level. The outcome is that the spray stays in a cloud and does not sink to the ground until wind begins to push it – often drifting off target – causing damage to sensitive crops. Enlist herbicides can just as easily locate offsite if they are sprayed under a temperature inversion scenario. Properly following instructions on the label is very important for both herbicides.
I hear various claims on buffer strips for both Xtendimax and Enlist herbicides. Xtendimax only requires a downwind buffer strip of 110 feet if there are sensitive crops within that distance; there is no requirement to put it around an entire field. Enlist has a 30-foot buffer, but again, only if a sensitive crop is downwind of it. Please note these are what the labels specify and that there may be local restrictions. We have been spraying Xtendimax for three years now and have had no issues with Dicamba moving off target.
There is a Liberty herbicide option for both Enlist E3 and GT27. Liberty herbicide can be used to control problem weeds but keep in mind that the cost for Liberty herbicide, at the higher rates which these weeds may need, looks to me to be roughly double the cost.
I don’t think you are going to be disappointed using Xtendimax or Enlist herbicides for problem weeds. If you don’t have this issue then the traditional RR2Y soybeans or Liberty GT27 soybeans should work just fine.
My advice is if you don’t have any problem weeds, choose between the higher yielding genetics of Xtend or RR2Y. These are known genetics with proven track records. If you do have weed problems, you will need to weigh your options. Again, I would lean towards the Xtend genetics unless there are issues applying Xtend herbicide. My second choice is Enlist E3 followed by Liberty GT27.
The good news is you have lots of options to choose from. Hopefully this will help you make a more informed decision on which path to go.