By Brian Hefty

As a farmer, I love it when input prices drop.  Recently, Callisto herbicide, or better stated, the active ingredient in Callisto (mesotrione) went off patent.  Since almost all the big companies have an HPPD product in their lineup, they are all affected by this.  Plus, there are now generic entrants and other new HPPD premixes in this market space.  With all this change, I want to step you through a few of the things we are looking at as agronomists.

  1. HPPD products are great, but don’t get too carried away.  You are probably familiar with Balance Flexx, Laudis, Impact, Armezon, and Callisto.  These are all straight HPPD products.  There are many other herbicides that contain an HPPD including Armezon Pro, Lumax, Acuron, Corvus, Capreno, and more.  We love the HPPD products for many reasons.  They have good activity on many Roundup-resistant broadleaves including waterhemp, Palmer pigweed, kochia, and ragweed.  They have decent residual, not as much drift concern as Banvel or Clarity, and they fit on no-till and conventional-till acres.  Here are my 2 biggest concerns:
    • Weed resistance – We had a first-hand report last year of a farmer who applied nothing but ALS and HPPD herbicides in Nebraska, and his waterhemp population exploded.  We aren’t seeing HPPD resistance elsewhere yet, but if you overuse the HPPD’s, weed resistance is likely.
    • Carryover – Using an HPPD according to label instructions doesn’t usually pose much carryover risk, but now that HPPD products are less expensive, the temptation will be there to apply an HPPD pre and another one post.  That’s what has me scared.  Also, what if you have a cool or dry summer?  How about where you overlap?  We have seen HPPD carryover on our farm on a few acres, so after that I’ve been cautious about how we use these products.  Also, if you haven’t invested in automatic shut-offs for your sprayer, do it.  It will save you on your herbicide bill and help prevent any overlap carryover problems.
  2. If you’ve been using an HPPD already, take a look at the new product choices available.
    • Bellum – This is similar in active ingredient and use rate to Callisto
    • Resicore – This is a combination of the active ingredients found in Harness, Stinger, and Callisto
    • Acuron Flexi – This has 2 different HPPD’s together with Dual
  3. Use HPPD to cut costs – If you haven’t been using an HPPD, this might be the year to start adding it into your program.  I know that costs are of utmost concern for you right now.  With lower HPPD pricing, this obviously helps.  Consider Bellum as a generic alternative, but don’t forget about the rebate programs available with products like Impact or Laudis.  It’s very possible after rebates you may get your name-brand choice for generic pricing by the time you figure everything.  The big companies don’t want to lose this business, so they have aggressively addressed both upfront price and back-side programs.  Compare all the HPPD options with what you’ve been doing for weed control, and it’s very likely you can reduce your total herbicide bill in corn this year.
  4. Use HPPD to improve weed control – If you are looking for the least expensive, best program for your corn acres, having an HPPD in there somewhere is probably a good idea.  Personally, I’d lean toward applying a good pre-emerge herbicide and then following with Resicore or a straight HPPD (in combination with Roundup, atrazine and/or dicamba), but these HPPD’s can be used in a number of ways from early pre-plant to post-emerge.  While you can’t spray dicamba once the corn is past V5 (and we’d really like it done by V2), many of the HPPD’s can be sprayed later.  The later you spray, the fewer weeds are usually present at harvest.  That said, you’ve got to try to keep your corn weed-free for the first 12 inches of its growth to maximize yield.  Adding an HPPD to your plan gives you good residual and broad-spectrum weed control for a low price.

We will be discussing this in more detail at our Ag PhD Agronomy Workshops.  You can also call the Ag PhD Radio Show (844-44-AgPhD), as we talk about topics like this each weekday at 2 pm Central on Sirius XM 147.