Stoneville LibertyLink variety combats resistant weeds

  • Glyphosate resistance continues to wreak havoc on cotton farms from the Mid-Atlantic to Texas.
  • Farmers who have not diversified their operations by incorporating different herbicide modes of action can significantly reduce their profitability. In the worst cases, farmers have abandoned entire fields after they made their seed investment.

Ten years ago, cotton farmers could summarize the most important factor in their cotton variety selection with one word: yield.

But for the ever-increasing number of farmers who are fighting glyphosate-resistant weeds, they require cotton varieties that provide high yields and the herbicide traits needed to control resistant weeds. 

Glyphosate resistance continues to wreak havoc on cotton farms from the Mid-Atlantic to Texas. Farmers who have not diversified their operations by incorporating different herbicide modes of action can significantly reduce their profitability. In the worst cases, farmers have abandoned entire fields after they made their seed investment.

Justin Cariker, of Dundee, Miss., planted the Stoneville LibertyLink variety ST 4145LLB2 during the 2011 season. He says the combination of high-performing Stoneville germplasm with LibertyLink technology gives him the yields and weed control he needs to produce a profitable, sustainable crop.

“ST 4145LLB2 is a new LibertyLink variety that performed well on our farm, and it is a variety that is going to help farmers in our area control resistant pigweed,” Cariker said.

“The yields with ST 4145LLB2 are phenomenal. We had it on furrow-irrigated land, and it picked 2.5 bales. I plan to increase acres of the ST 4145LLB2 for two reasons: yield plus the value of saving my land by controlling the pigweeds. I think this is something that every farmer needs to look into if they have bad pigweeds and want to stay in the cotton business.”

ST 4145LLB2, introduced in 2011, is an early season variety with excellent yield potential. It is broadly adapted from the Mid-South to Georgia and the Carolinas, and it excels in aggressive management situations. New for 2012, the addition of ST 5445LLB2, a mid-maturing variety with a wide geographic adaptation and high yield potential, means farmers will have two distinct maturity choices in a Stoneville LibertyLink variety.

Grover Cobb of Bartow, Ga., has planted FiberMax LibertyLink varieties for several years because of their consistent high yields and full tolerance to Ignite herbicide. Cobb planted

ST 4145LLB2 in 2011 to compare it to his FiberMax varieties, and he was very impressed with the yield and weed control.

“ST 4145LLB2 is an excellent cotton — it was the highest yielder on the farm with 1,526 pounds per acre,” Cobb said. “That’s more than three bales to the acre. It is a really good cotton, especially on irrigated land, and I would definitely recommend it to other farmers.”

Glyphosate-resistant pigweed has plagued this area of Georgia for years. Cobb has been able to keep his fields clean and weed-free with the help of Ignite herbicide. He credits the LibertyLink technology with keeping him in business.

“I don’t know that we could continue farming cotton if we didn’t have LibertyLink and Ignite herbicide,” Cobb said. “I just don’t think I could control the weeds with the other herbicide systems. It’s so easy with LibertyLink cotton. It’s just about as easy as it was with Roundup Ready Flex cotton. I don’t know what the future holds for us, but we are going to continue to use the LibertyLink varieties.”

Cariker agrees that ST 4145LLB2 and LibertyLink technology have made it easier for him to control glyphosate-resistant weeds on his farm. In many ways, Cariker managed the Stoneville LibertyLink cotton similarly to Roundup Ready Flex cotton. However, he made two important changes.

“The only things we did differently with the Ignite applications versus glyphosate is that we added some different tips for our spray rig, and we put out 18 to 20 gallons of water with the Ignite,” Cariker said. “The extra water does add a little more time to our applications, but that is worth it to control these pigweeds.”

ST 4145LLB2 and other cotton varieties with the LibertyLink trait have complete tolerance to Ignite herbicide, so farmers can use the highest labeled rates to combat pigweed without crop injury.

Higher label rates mean better weed control and fewer escapes, which lead to cleaner fields during the season and better herbicide stewardship in the long term. For farmers like Cariker, the LibertyLink trait gives them confidence when they head to the field to control weeds with Ignite applications. 

“We grew the LibertyLink system with cotton and soybeans this past year, and Ignite works very well to control the pigweeds that we have on the farm,” Cariker said. “Ignite controls resistant pigweed, and we had good control on grasses, too. It was remarkable to see the improvements that we made with the glyphosate-resistant pigweed in just one year with the Ignite herbicide and LibertyLink system.”

For more information about ST 4145LLB2, visit www.stoneville.com, talk to your local Bayer CropScience representative or call 1-866-992-2937.

NOTE — At a news briefing held on Jan. 4, 2012 during the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, Bayer CropScience announced that the global brand Liberty herbicide will replace the Ignite herbicide brand for use on LibertyLink crops in the U.S. market.

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