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Georgia: Liberty Herbicide Shortages – Coping In 2013

Owen Taylor
By A. Stanley Culpepper, Extension Weed Scientist, University of Georgia October 4, 2012 14:13

Georgia: Liberty Herbicide Shortages – Coping In 2013

Georgia cotton growers, distributors, and dealers are very concerned with both the price and availability of Liberty for the 2013 season. Although it is not possible to predict what will actually happen, here is the latest information available:

The price of Liberty will increase for the 2013 season.

For LibertyLink producers, there will be an increased rebate (LinkUp Offer) on qualifying purchases of LibertyLink seed. Growers who purchase a minimum of 150 acres of qualifying LibertyLink seed from September 1, 2012, to February 1, 2013, will receive a cash equivalent rebate from Bayer CropScience. That is based on seeding rates of 1 acre/unit of soybean seed and 5 acres/unit of cottonseed. Please refer to Program Details for full offer requirements. Rebate amounts:

  • FiberMax and Stoneville LibertyLink cottonseed $30 per unit.
  • LibertyLink soybean seed $5 per unit.

If properly directed, the supply of Liberty herbicide available for 2013 should be adequate to treat projected planted acres of LibertyLink crops. Obviously, LibertyLink growers must have Liberty or the weed management program would most likely fail.

Forecast your Liberty herbicide needs. Bayer CropScience is encouraging growers to work with Retailers and Seed Sellers to forecast Liberty herbicide requirements when they book LibertyLink seed. The forecast will help provide direction for the channel to align Liberty herbicide with LibertyLink crops. A forecasted need for Liberty herbicide is not a guarantee that supply will be available.

        
         

Cotton producers growing Widestrike cotton will not be discriminated against. After numerous discussions with Bayer CropScience, I do believe this statement to be true. Although Bayer CropScience is working with Distributors to align Liberty supply with LibertyLink needs, the ultimate shipment locations and sales transactions are up to the channel. Sales of Liberty for use on Widestrike acres will occur. However, Phytogen seed is not covered by the LibertyLink rebate.

Little to no Liberty should be used for burndown. This will help ensure supply and proper rates of Liberty for in-crop applications. This is not a huge concern because we have alternatives that are usually better than Liberty for burndown and are much cheaper.

There will be as much or slightly more Liberty available for Georgia in 2013 as compared to 2012.

In light of all this, growers will have to make several critical decisions for 2013. Among them:

  • Which technology will be grown during 2013? If the intention is to treat cotton with Liberty, then make certain the Liberty is in hand prior to planting.
  • What to do if insufficient Liberty is available. If growers are not certain if they have enough Liberty, then a Roundup based program is in order.
  • What to do if planting LibertyLink or Widestrike cotton and only one application of Liberty can be afforded? In that case, a very aggressive approach using residual herbicides is required while being extremely timely is required.

Keep in mind, too:

  • Programs with no Liberty or one application of Liberty will be more effective under irrigation.
  • The heavy rye cover crop cotton system will be more effective in controlling pigweed when compared to other production practices if Liberty, or any other herbicide, becomes limited.

During winter extension meetings the following programs will be discussed in depth:

  • Roundup-based programs without Liberty
  • Liberty-based programs with 2 applications of Liberty
  • Liberty-based programs with 1 application of Liberty

As long as we know which of these programs will be implemented, I believe timeliness and a sound residual system can be used to overcome the limitations of Liberty…of course, don’t forget a little hand weeding will be needed regardless of the program utilized.

Owen Taylor
By A. Stanley Culpepper, Extension Weed Scientist, University of Georgia October 4, 2012 14:13