Ignite is a non-selective, contact herbicide which controls more than 100 weeds in cotton. LibertyLink cotton varieties have a genetically based resistance to Ignite, which will enable growers to spray Ignite over the top of their crop.

Bayer will offer the herbicide-resistant trait in four picker varieties – FiberMax 981LL, FM 966 LL, FM 958 LL and FM 832 LL – and one stripper variety – FM 5035 LL – for the 2004 growing season, said Andy Hurst, cotton herbicides product manager for Bayer CropScience.

“We’re extremely excited to get registration for Ignite herbicide in cotton,” said Hurst, speaking at a media briefing for Bayer CropScience. “Growers are looking for good alternative weed control systems, and this herbicide system will give growers the flexibility to spray Ignite over-the-top of LibertyLink Cotton up to 70 days prior to harvest.

“Ignite provides fast, non-selective control of most major weeds, including morningglory.”

According to Hurst, Ignite can be applied over-the-top of LibertyLink cotton into early bloom, and it can also be used as a preplant burndown or as a hooded application on non-LibertyLink cotton.

He stressed that Ignite or glufosinate is a totally different herbicide than the glyphosate herbicide brands and cannot be sprayed on Roundup Ready cotton. Neither can the Roundup-brand herbicides be sprayed on LibertyLink cotton.

“We will be meeting with growers and consultants this spring to help make sure they properly identify their fields to avoid errors in applying the different herbicides,” said Hurst.

Besides morningglory, Ignite also provides control of most of the major broadleaf weeds and annual grasses such as pigweed, cocklebur, hemp sesbania and Johnsongrass. Ignite is specially formulated for use on cotton and will be sold at prices comparable to those for applications of Roundup WeatherMax.

“Ignite will be recommended at a 32-ounce rate in cotton up to 40 ounces per application, depending on weed size,” said Hurst. “The total maximum use rate for the season will be 80 ounces.”

He said the FiberMax LibertyLink varieties will not be available with the Bollgard trait in 2004, but that they will include the gene in future years.

“We believe growers will be very pleased with the performance of these varieties and the weed control by Ignite,” said Hurst.

“The FiberMax/LibertyLink varieties will have a fairly broad spectrum of adaptability and maturity with very good fiber quality,” said Jane Dever, cottonseed product development manager for Bayer CropScience. “Their recurrent parents are at or above the performance level of most of the conventional varieties on the market today.”

She said Bayer’s goal has been to make FiberMax cotton seed synonymous with quality. “Our focus is the development of agronomically superior varieties with excellent fiber quality. This is fundamental to the development of LibertyLink varieties.”

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com