“We want to have this technology around for growers for a long time, and it’s absolutely critical that the technology be used wisely.

“Incorporating LibertyLink technology as a component of a total weed control program and following Liberty herbicide label directions will help ensure that will happen,” he adds.

Growers saw all too well what happened when they over-used Roundup Ready technology. It was and is a great product, but it has created a whole new set of management problems with resistance. Over-use and miss-use of glyphosate resistant technologies has resulted in some unmanageable situations, especially with pigweed.

In past years in the Upper Southeast, the knock on planting LibertyLink cotton varieties has been perceived lower yields. The varieties that contained the LibertyLink trait simply didn’t yield quite as well in University variety testing programs as other varieties.

Though Nichols agrees that was the case to some extent in some university variety trials with the first released LibertyLink varieties, he contends many growers achieved high yields with very good fiber quality on their farms and were able to control weeds without hand weeding, which translates to a cost savings.

Nichols says two new Liberty Link varieties with high yield potential, ST 5445LLB2 and FM 1944GLB2, will be available for the 2012 season.

With ST 5445LLB2, Liberty herbicide can be applied at full labeled rates to manage weeds with no risk of injury to the crop.

In the case of FM 1944GLB2, growers have the flexibility to apply glyphosate herbicide or Liberty herbicide to best manage weeds on their farm. 

This GlyTol LibertyLink herbicide stack combination offers growers additional options in their weed control program.

Nichols says these new varieties will be available to growers in the Upper South, Southeast and Mid-South this year.

In addition to these new varieties, ST 4145LLB2 was released in 2011, and will be available to growers in greater quantities in 2012.

“Stoneville ST 4145LLB2 was released on a limited basis last year, but will be available in excellent supply in 2012,” Nichols says.

“More than 300 growers had the opportunity to evaluate the new variety in 2011. Now, those farmers are making variety decisions, and we are already seeing many of those growers increasing their acreage planted to this variety for 2012.”

“We know how much it costs to produce a crop of cotton, and we understand that growers are mindful of managing their input costs to remain profitable. Following best management practices may cost a little more up front, but in the long-run, best management practices and wise use of any new technology or product is typically going to pay off for growers,” Nichols says.

rroberson@farmpress.com