Sprayed with a burndown last Nov. 1, the fields are still clean. In mid-April, weed tops are just beginning to push through their dry, crispy predecessors. Fields with weeds held in check by Valent's Valor (or a Valor/Roundup tank-mix) are scattered throughout the country and drawing much attention from farmers.

Bubba Burnside, Valent sales representative, works counties in northern Mississippi and west Tennessee. He sprayed four test plots last November and has been checking them regularly. So far, so good.

“Valent has been working with Valor for a number of years. We got a label last June. The label allows tank-mixes with glyphosate and 2,4-D as a burndown. It's also allowed as a pre-emerge for soybeans and peanuts,” says Burnside.

The idea for a fall application program began in 2000 with employees at Valent's research facility in Greenville, Miss. The employees sprayed a small plot with Valor to see what kind of activity they'd get. In April, they returned and found the plot still clean.

The next step was to see what Valor would do across the United States in varying environments. So last fall Valent reps — just like Burnside — sprayed plots throughout their territories.

“Valor is a pre-emerge herbicide that has very good activity. When we put the material out, we killed some small winter weeds and held off the first flush of weeds this spring. In most cases, probably 95 percent of the time, we tank-mix 2 ounces of Valor with Roundup. The Roundup rate we used varied between a pint and a quart, according to weed sizes.”

Are those rates standard?

“We've only used a 2-ounce rate on these plots. There is some flexibility in that you can go up to 3 ounces. With our soil types and everything else in the Delta, we feel the 2-ounce rate best fits the environment. Most of the soils here have 1 percent or less of organic matter. With higher organic matter, the higher rates might work better. So far, 2 ounces is all we need. It can't get much cleaner than it is.”

Valor is a good fit in a reduced-tillage setting, says Burnside. Farmers can begin the spring without worrying about burndown — that was taken care of the previous fall. As a result, planting is speeded up.

“We believe farmers will adopt a Valor program. This is something they've not done before. It is completely new. We have to be sure to answer all questions thoroughly. I don't think it will take much convincing, though. These clean fields sell themselves,” says Burnside.

A lot of different issues revolve around a fall application. Many (if not most) farmers have already spent their production money. The question arises: if a farmer wants to spray a burndown in the fall, does he have the money to do it? Could some sort of delayed billing be used?

Burnside says Valent understands and will soon address such concerns. Some type of Valor program will likely be announced by late summer, he says.

Valor will fit in with Roundup Ready technology very well. The product will be a great fit for rice and corn growers especially, says Burnside. “They plant early, and Valor allows them to get in as early as they can.” A grower doesn't have to wait while seeing if a spring burndown works as planned. “By using Valor in the fall, he can plant as soon as the field is dry enough to drive across.”

Valor has a 30-day plant-back restriction for corn, rice, sorghum and wheat. Soybeans and peanuts can be planted three days after the application. All other crops have a 120-day plant back restriction. Valent is working to reduce those restrictions.

Valor also doesn't have an air label. “If we can get that label by August — which is the plan — farmers won't have to worry about a fall application. If he wants a spring application, he can.”

And Valor gets what Roundup misses. “There are a holes in Roundup — it misses a few weeds. The addition of Valor picks those weeds up plus gives 30 days of residual that Roundup doesn't have,” says Burnside.

Also of interest, documented glyphosate resistance has been found in some west Tennessee marestail. Valor is able to control the resistant marestail.

“I've seen the Tennessee plots and so far they look great. We made sure to use a plot in a field known to have glyphosate-resistant marestail. I looked at the plots (the second week of April) and they're still clean.”


email: dbennett@primediabusiness.com.