Zeneca Ag Products has developed a new formulation of Touchdown, making the herbicide suitable for over-the-top application on Roundup Ready corn and cotton as well as soybeans.

The new Touchdown continues to deliver non-selective weed control in all burndown uses.

Anticipating registration by EPA in time for use of the new formulation during the 2001 growing season, Zeneca plans to include several new crops on the Touchdown label.

These crops include peanuts, sweet corn, barley, oats, rye, triticale, sunflowers, sorghum, pastures, herbs and grasses. These crops will join those already on the label, including: soybeans, Roundup Ready soybeans, vegetables, wheat, field corn, popcorn, seed corn, CRP land, fallow and postharvest uses, berries, fruits, nuts and vines, as well as non-crop farmsteads.

Tested around the world since 1998, the new formulation is being extensively tested this year in university, retailer and Zeneca field trials.

Jasper Barnes is conducting and supervising extensive field trials on Roundup Ready cotton and corn at Zeneca's Eastern Regional Technical Center near Whitakers, N.C. He describes the test area as an excellent research site representative of Coastal Plains agriculture.

"Our new Touchdown formulation has an improved balanced adjuvant system," Barnes says. "It is a very different product than Touchdown 5. We have seen excellent weed control and we have not had problems with phytotoxicity in Roundup Ready corn, cotton or soybeans with the new formulation. As an added benefit, the new formulation is a clean smelling, low foaming material."

The improved, balanced adjuvant system in new Touchdown improves spray delivery and spray retention on leaf surfaces and helps overcome antagonism from hard water (calcium or magnesium in the water).

In field trials at the technical center, Barnes has plots comparing the new Touchdown to Roundup Ultra. Other plots show how the new Touchdown performs when mixed with various insecticides and in combination with several other herbicides.

"We have tried to anticipate the situations farmers will address in their own fields," Barnes says. "We have single applications and sequential applications. We did see some stunting in cotton where we tank-mixed Touchdown with Lorsban. We saw no other phytotoxicity or antagonism when we mixed the new formulation with any other herbicide or insecticide, in corn or cotton."

Barnes emphasizes that the new formulation of Touchdown will not be available to growers until it is registered by the EPA. The current formulation of Touchdown 5 is approved as a burndown herbicide on a broad spectrum of weeds and grasses and as an over-the-top herbicide on Roundup Ready soybeans. Touchdown 5 is not labeled or recommended for use over-the-top of any other Roundup Ready crops.