In several areas of Virginia in which cotton is grown, there will be tobacco, grapes and vegetable crops that are highly sensitive to these herbicides.

“Hopefully, we will have an opportunity to work with these new herbicide traits in cotton next year and the following year, before they are available to farmers, and we can work out some of the questions and provide our growers with some guidelines, or precautions to consider before using the new materials,” Frame says.

He adds that glyphosate will unquestionably continue to be the Mother Ship for herbicides in row crops in Virginia. It is still relatively inexpensive and it controls a high percentage of the weeds growers contend with every year.

Looking back at the time when glyphosate was first used in GMOs, had growers had more training on how it should be used, it is likely they would not be facing some of the problems with resistance that are currently common in many areas of the Southeast.

“We don’t have any new modes of action in herbicides coming up any time soon and we haven’t had any new materials that are used on a wide scale in the past few years.

“All that heightens the importance of using the herbicides and the traits we have more wisely in the future,” the Virginia Tech researcher says.

“The big advantage for farmers I see from these new dicamba and 2,4-D containing products is reducing the plant-back restrictions. In the past for 2,4-D, it was 30 days and an inch of rain or irrigation water.

“With the new materials growers can apply it one day and plant the next. In a year like this past one, with all the rain, that would have been a huge benefit,” Frame says.

“The big concern for cotton growers using these new products will be price. Unlike new herbicides, which are available in lower cost generic materials once the patent runs out, these new traits won’t likely go to generics because of the cost and legal aspects of duplicating these traits.

“With cottonseed already in the $500 a bag range in the Southeast, it will be interesting to see how much growers will be willing to pay for this new technology, Frame adds.