The pickings are slim for new soybean herbicides this planting season. Although company mergers slowed to a crawl this past year (only the Bayer-Aventis collaboration is now in the works), crop protection companies are still busy realigning.

But one company that's been toting the proverbial new-product hoe is Valent USA Corp. It's harvesting two new soybean herbicides this year: Valor and Phoenix.

Valor is a pre-emergence product using a new active ingredient called flumioxazin, says Jamie Nielson, Valent's market segment manager for Northern row crops. “It has excellent control of the tough weeds … waterhemp, nightshade, lambsquarters, kochia and common ragweed. It also has grass suppression, mainly giant foxtail and barnyardgrass.”

Valor's selling point: residual control, Nielson says. “We're promoting it in front of Roundup Ready soybeans. Roundup doesn't offer residual control; with Valor, we have up to eight weeks of residual control.”

Besides a pre-emergent application followed by Roundup, Neilson suggests another option: “Valor plus Roundup in a burndown situation, and then following that with one shot of Roundup postemergence.

“It can be used in conventional beans as well. It has a lot of benefits, from the standpoint of residual control, especially with tough weeds like lambsquarters and waterhemp,” he notes.

The product offers farmers flexibility, Neilson says. “The residual control early gives them time to come back and put on their post treatments. It also gives them higher yields because we're taking control of the weeds earlier.” Its recommended use rate for residual control is 2-3 oz/acre. Small-seeded broadleaf weeds can be suppressed with rates as low as 1 oz/acre. Valor is similar to DuPont's Authority herbicide.

Phoenix offers postemergence control of waterhemp, ragweed, pigweed and nightshade and is comparable to Syngenta's Flexstar, says Kevin Perry, Valent product development manager.

The herbicide is what Perry calls a “novel” formulation of lactofen, the active ingredient in Valent's Cobra herbicide. It provides a low-burn alternative for farmers who don't like Cobra's tendency toward leaf burn.

“What Phoenix represents is a softer chemistry for the soybean that maintains the efficacy on the key weeds that we target our lactofen products for,” Perry says. But don't expect Cobra to disappear, he adds.

Because Phoenix' built-in adjuvant system can only be used effectively down to 8 oz/acre, that's the lowest rate on which it can be used. Cobra, by comparison, can be used down to 6 oz in areas where it's just needed to add a kick in the tankmix.

Perry adds that Phoenix can also be used to catch any weed escapes from Valor's pre-emerge application.

New names to older, proven products are on-tap for 2002 as well. These include four glyphosates: Cornerstone from Agriliance, Albaugh's Gly Star Original and Gly Star Plus and Monsanto's Roundup UltraMax.