ST. LOUIS (DTN) -- Dow AgroScience's Enlist weed-control system moved one step closer to full commercialization Thursday when USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced its decision to deregulate the company's Enlist cotton trait.
All of the Enlist crops -- corn, soybeans, and cotton -- have now been approved by USDA. The crops have been genetically engineered to tolerate over-the-top applications of Enlist Duo, Dow's proprietary herbicide mix of 2,4-D and glyphosate, as well as glufosinate herbicides.
The company is now waiting for the EPA to register Enlist Duo for use in cotton before it can fully commercialize Enlist cotton. The agency has already approved the use of Enlist Duo over Enlist corn and soybean crops.
"Pending regulatory approvals, Dow AgroSciences expects to launch Enlist cotton in proven, consistent, high-yielding PhytoGen cottonseed in 2016," a company press release said.
Once Enlist Duo is given the go-ahead in cotton, growers will be able to apply the herbicide over cotton plants up until mid-bloom. This summer, select growers were permitted to test out the Enlist cotton trait along with Enlist Duo herbicide applications in research plots, according to the press release.
The company hopes farmers will seize on the Enlist cotton system to help control the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds, such as Palmer amaranth pigweed. Resistant Palmer amaranth plants have spread aggressively throughout the South and are threatening more northern and Midwestern states as well.
"We deal with glyphosate-resistant weeds and primarily glyphosate-resistant palmer pigweed in this geography," Mississippi farmer Trey Koger said in the press release. "We fight that weed species in every one of our crops."
"The deregulation of Enlist cotton marks a tremendous milestone for the cotton industry," John Chase, Enlist commercial leader, added in the release. "Enlist cotton will open the door to other options for in-season weed control with multiple modes of action."
USDA released its preliminary environmental and plant pest risk assessments of the Enlist cotton trait on May 29. The documents were open for public comment for 30 days, during which the agency received 217 responses from the public.
You can find those comments here: http://1.usa.gov/….
You can find USDA's final environmental assessment and plant pest risk assessments, as well as its decision to deregulate the Enlist cotton trait, here: http://1.usa.gov/….
Dow's press release on USDA's deregulation of Enlist cotton can be found here: http://www.enlist.com/….
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