BASF has announced that it is manufacturing and distributing enough Newpath herbicide to treat 600,000 acres of Clearfield rice beginning this week. The immediate manufacture is in response to a shortage of the product reported by growers in several Mid-South states last week.

Supplies were expected to begin arriving at distributors as early as Sunday, June 8, with full delivery of the product expected within a week.

As a temporary replacement for Newpath, EPA approved a Section 18 crisis exemption for the use of the imazethapyr product Pursuit and the imazamox product Raptor on Clearfield rice. Pursuit and Raptor are BASF products.

EPA also approved an exemption for Thunder, an imazethapyr product manufactured by Albaugh. However, BASF noted that the use of Thunder herbicide on Clearfield rice would be in violation of the Clearfield grower agreement with BASF.

A BASF spokesperson says that with ample supplies of Pursuit and Raptor in the distribution channel, the company would not expect a grower to have to use a non-BASF product.

A letter from BASF's Markus Heldt, group vice president, North America, to Clearfield customers stated that the shortage was due to “an extraordinary increase in rice planting over recent weeks.

“BASF is working closely with distributors to locate appropriate BASF rice herbicides in other regions and have it shipped immediately to rice production areas,” the letter said. Those herbicides “have been made immediately available to those production regions with the most urgent need.”

BASF noted that the crisis exemption for Pursuit and Raptor declared for red rice control in Arkansas is effective until June 19, 2008, and in Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana and Texas, until July 20, 2008.

Growers should contact their local state extension agents for details. Contact Avinash Deshmukh at BASF for additional product and dealer information (919) 547-2183.