Five crop protection companies are launching new herbicides for the 2003 planting season. Here's a rundown of what's already here or coming:

Monsanto's Roundup WeatherMax is a unique potassium salt formulation with TranSorb II technology. It allows the product to quickly penetrate weed leaves and deliver a lethal dose of glyphosate, says Matt Helms, U.S. Roundup product manager.

“We specifically tested it under tough-to-control conditions — hot or dry or cool weather and early morning and late afternoon applications,” Helms says. “We tested it with growers and retailers on 1.3 million acres this past summer and said, ‘Spray in these tough conditions.’ More than 93% of growers were satisfied.”

Monsanto adds two warranties to its 2003 Roundup Rewards program, he adds. “TranSorb II technology allows for rapid entry of glyphosate into the plant to support the 30-minute rainfast warranty. The Roundup WeatherMax warranty gives growers confidence when forced to spray in tough, challenging conditions.”

Also from Monsanto is a postemergence product called Yukon. It's a premix of Permit and dicamba.

Dow AgroSciences' newest herbicide is Keystone, a combination of 2 lbs/gallon of acetochlor and 1.5 lbs/gallon of atrazine at standard use rates.

“It complements the rest of our product portfolio,” says Ben Kaehler, senior marketing manager. “We expect it to be used in the central and southern Corn Belt.”

Keystone LA, also being launched this year, provides acetochlor with a ¾-lb/gallon rate of atrazine at standard use rates for northern Corn Belt areas.

Both products control grasses such as foxtail, barnyardgrass and crabgrass, and broadleaves like water-hemp, lambsquarter, pigweed and nightshade.

“The program that we're recommending is actually a combination of Keystone and Hornet,” Kaehler adds. “When a farmer buys a product, he's buying clean fields. By applying Hornet and Keystone, we pick up large-seeded broadleaves with Hornet and small-seeded broadleaves and grasses with Keystone.”

A new one-pass product from Syngenta, Lumax, controls most broadleaf and annual grasses, says Matt Comer, Syngenta brand manager for corn herbicides.

“It's excellent for growers who haven't been able to achieve one-pass pre-emergence weed control in the northern Corn Belt,” he says. “It would replace most two-pass programs. The exceptions would be areas where you have perennials, especially heavy perennial broadleaf weeds. Or, where you would have heavy cocklebur or giant ragweed pressure when the addition of some atrazine would be needed to ensure control.”

The product contains three modes of action: a seeding growth inhibitor (S-metolachlor), a photosynthesis inhibitor (atrazine) and an HPPD inhibitor (mesotrione).

“You've got three modes of action entirely different and separate from each other working to gain weed control even in resistant weed populations,” Comer adds.

Also from Syngenta is a pre-emerge product called Camix. It was developed for growers in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and parts of Pennsylvania who can't or don't want to use an atrazine-containing product.

In a co-marketing agreement with Syngenta, DuPont launches atrazine-free Cinch as well as Cinch ATZ and Cinch ATZ Lite.

Comparable to Syngenta's Dual II Magnum, Cinch's active ingredient is metolachlor. It will take the place of LeadOff, an atrazine premix (dimethenamid).

Cinch ATZ contains 3.1 lbs/gallon of atrazine; Cinch ATZ Lite has a reduced atrazine rate of 2.67 lbs/gallon.

“We'll have metolachlor — certainly the market leader of pre-grass herbicides,” says David Saunders, DuPont product development manager. “With a full rate of atrazine — being Cinch ATZ — as well as the Lite version, that gives us a better market in some of the atrazine-sensitive areas. We didn't have that flexibility when we sold LeadOff.”

Cinch products control broadleaves such as waterhemp, nightshade and redroot pigweed, as well as many grasses.

Sipcam Agro USA is awaiting Environmental Protection Agency registration on two products. One is a metolachlor 7.8 EC plus safener; the second adds 3.1 lbs/gallon of atrazine to the 2.4 lbs of metolachlor plus safener.

“Our product will be cost-effective while offering growers the flexibility they need for a strong weed management program with this leading corn chemistry,” says Mark Shepherd, Sipcam herbicide business manager. The company will name the products when registration is approved, possibly early in February.