EPA has granted a Section 3 registration for the application of Brake herbicide pre-emergence in cotton, providing growers with a different mode of action to use in their ongoing struggle with herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth.

Brake has an interesting history in that the active ingredient was first developed in 1978 by Eli Lilly Corp.

“I first saw Brake in April of 1978 when we established our cotton trials at the Upper Coastal Plains Research Station at Rocky Mount, N.C.,” said Harold Coble, a retired scientist with USDA. “When I went back to that location four weeks later, there was nothing in the field but cotton, and the cotton was in good shape.”

Fast forward to more than 30 years later, and Dr. Coble was invited to tour some fields in the upper Mississippi Delta where glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth had almost taken over a field. He began thinking about what it would take to get fluridone on the market and registered by EPA.

Dr. Coble contacted Bill Culpepper, CEO of SePRO Corporation, a small chemical manufacturing company headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind. Culpepper put the resources of his company to work on the development of fluridone.

“It is estimated over 9 million acres of cotton will be planted in 2016,” said Culpepper. “Many of those acres have experienced challenges with resistant weeds like Palmer pigweed. This is a significant threat to production when just one pigweed plant in 60 feet of cotton row has been shown to reduce yield by up to 30 percent.”

This challenge was the stimulus for USDA seeking SePRO’s interest in developing Brake, since it was an herbicide that had not been seen in cotton in 30 years. Brake has been developed over the last four years in conjunction with the National Cotton Council, Cotton Incorporated, over 25 university researchers, industry experts and growers.

“Brake comes at a perfect time, when growers are looking for additional tools to strengthen resistant weed management programs,” said Culpepper. “It offers a strong residual herbicide that provides the foundation for comprehensive weed control programs, regardless of traits. Brake provides very good control of herbicide-resistant Palmer amaranth, along with many other broadleaf weeds and grasses.”

Brake, which was initially developed as an aquatic herbicide, excels under wet conditions providing assurance when it is too wet to get back in the fields for timely postemergence herbicide applications.

“Having the opportunity to develop Brake alongside the grower community has been invaluable for this new class of chemistry for cotton,” said Culpepper.

 To learn more about the Brake story and the experiences of researchers and growers, go to brakeherbicide.com.