The past three days have been the most hectic I can remember in my career as a weed scientist. I had heard for a couple of weeks that BASF had sold out of Clearpath and that Newpath was getting short.

However, my telephone exploded Monday with calls from irate farmers who could not find any Newpath. This is at a time of the season where a lot of fields have not received the first Newpath application and few have received the second.

Rather than dwell and speculate on how something that would appear so elementary could go so wrong, I will concentrate on bringing you up-to-date on what is being done to solve the problem. My hat is off to the Arkansas State Plant Board and to the EPA for stopping everything they were doing to focus on this issue.

At present, the Arkansas 24-C label for Beyond has been modified to include Raptor, which is the same product (imazamox), labeled for different markets. They also removed the wording that required Newpath to have been used before Beyond could be used in the 24-C.

Therefore, either Beyond or Raptor can be substituted for Newpath. The Arkansas Plant Board is also in the process of requesting a Crisis Exemption and following that with a 24-C label to allow the use of Pursuit, Pursuit Plus and Albaugh’s generic product, Thunder, in place of Newpath.

Newpath, Pursuit and Thunder all contain the active ingredient imazethapyr. All of the agreements between the Plant Board and the EPA are in place, but the paperwork still has to be pushed through. Everyone is hopeful this will be done by the close of business today.

The one issue still unresolved to an extent is the status of the Albaugh product. They have assured me they can have enough Thunder shipped into Arkansas to treat 100,000 acres of rice in 24 to 48 hours at a price considerably cheaper than Newpath. They have also told me they are gearing up to make enough to treat up to 750,000 acres in the next seven to 10 days.

The BASF contract farmers signed states only BASF products can be used on Clearfield rice. As of 10:30 a.m. today, there was one report BASF might buy Thunder to distribute under their label. There is another conference call later today. What the Plant Board has done is included Thunder in the Crisis Exemption so that whether Albaugh sells it or BASF sells it, we are still covered by a label in Arkansas.

e-mail: ford@weedconsultants.com