Bayer Embraces Enlist

Bayer to Offer Enlist E3 Seed in the Future

Emily Unglesbee
By  Emily Unglesbee , DTN Staff Reporter
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Bayer surprised the industry by announcing that it will offer Enlist E3 soybeans, the primary competitor to its Xtend soybeans, starting in 2023. (DTN file photo)

ROCKVILLE, Md. (DTN) -- Bayer will begin to offer Enlist E3 soybean varieties starting in 2023, the company announced in a press release on Feb. 22.

"Bayer announced today a distribution agreement with M.S. Technologies, L.L.C. for soybeans containing the Enlist E3 trait," the release explained. "The objective of the agreement is to provide Bayer customers with more choice and additional tools for integrated weed management."

Bayer will roll out seed brands containing the Enlist E3 trait later this year, with distribution starting in the next growing season, the statement continued.

Currently, Corteva Agriscience is the primary distributor of Enlist crops, which tolerate the company's proprietary 2,4-D-choline herbicides and are the main competitor to Bayer's current dicamba-tolerant Xtend and Xtendflex crop technology. The two trait platforms have competed for market share, particularly in the U.S. soybean market, for the past three years.

As a result, the announcement is sure to be a surprise to many in the industry. It comes after Bayer has spent five years fighting to keep over-the-top dicamba herbicides legal and available for use on Xtend crops. Despite EPA's nearly annual adjustments to the Bayer's XtendiMax herbicide label, the technology has been plagued by continual reports of off-target movement of dicamba since 2017.

Among those complaints, reports of dicamba injury to non-dicamba-tolerant soybeans, such as Enlist soybeans, have been prominent, and Harry Stine, who is closely affiliated with M.S. Technologies, has a been a vocal critic of Bayer's stewardship of dicamba-tolerant technology. See more here:… and here:….

The press release did not address these past conflicts, stating instead that: "Bayer has long been an advocate for the co-existence of multiple sites of action in crop systems to help farmer customers be successful and this agreement adds another effective trait system for weed control."

"There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to herbicide and weed management, and we want to provide our customers with more choices to manage tough to control weeds, while maintaining the relationship with their trusted advisors, seed professionals and Bayer representatives," the release quoted Wes Hays, Bayer U.S. soybean portfolio lead.

"This partnership is great news for U.S. soybean growers," added Joseph Merschman, president of M.S. Technologies, in the release. "This announcement clears the way for even more soybean growers to experience the high-yielding elite genetics and exceptional weed control offered by the Enlist E3 soybean system."

Enlist herbicides have faced some regulatory hiccups of their own recently, with new 2022 labels issued by EPA prohibiting their use in dozens of counties across the country, due to endangered species risks. See more on that here:….

See the press release from Bayer here:….

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Emily Unglesbee