Pulse and vetch positivity rising with REFLEX® registration
The registration of REFLEX®, a new pre-emergent selective herbicide specifically for pulse crops, is expected to open lucrative market options for farmers - helping advisors put broadleaf weed blowouts behind them.
REFLEX delivers the confidence needed to go after cash crop opportunities in narrow leaf lupins, lentils, chickpeas, faba beans, field peas and even vetch, while unlocking the numerous agronomic advantages that pulse crops are known for in broadacre rotations.
Compared to Group B and C herbicides, in this pre-emergent space, REFLEX offers superior crop safety and compatibility, supporting the WeedSmart’s call to mix and rotate chemistry.
“Where farmers and advisors have predominantly been using Group C herbicides, there’s been a real balancing act trying to manage broadleaf weeds in that establishment window,” Syngenta Field Development Technical Manager Paul Chatfield said.
“Usage rates have been increased to achieve better weed control, but to a point where crop safety has often been compromised.
“Throughout the development of REFLEX, we’ve recorded excellent control of broadleaf weeds and have adopted use rates that will be safe to pulse crops and while ensuring compatibility with existing herbicides.”
REFLEX is a Group G herbicide, not previously registered for use in Australian pulse crops. Extensive data was captured across numerous trials for use either post sowing, pre-emergence (PSPE) or incorporated by sowing (IBS) use patterns.
This extensive trial work has stoked much excitement in REFLEX. Various site collaborators observed excellent control of a range of broadleaf weeds including brassica weeds such as wild radish, sow thistle, prickly lettuce and bifora, and those species where there’s confirmed resistance to Group B, C, D, F and I herbicides. Compatibility studies have also found REFLEX to be highly suited to tank mixing and application with other common pre-emergent herbicides for enhanced results.
ConsultAg agronomist Brad Joyce services clients across the Central and Eastern Wheatbelt of Western Australia. His expectation is that REFLEX will precipitate growth in the area planted to pulses.
“I’ve had a few clients in the last two years where we worked out that the paddock needed a break but there were some pretty tough to control Wild Radish and we weren’t confident to go in with Lupins, even though we knew it was best agronomically,” he said.
“REFLEX is definitely going to see those legumes push into a larger area and will see Lupins grown with more confidence.”
Syngenta Technical Services Lead James Considine said REFLEX had arrived at an important time.
“Advisors have been challenged in recent years by the lack of herbicide options for grain legumes, particularly the lack of herbicides with any length of residual action, and of course there’s been challenges with crop safety” he said.
“The development of REFLEX means advisors and growers can mix and rotate herbicides for better results today, while managing the development of resistance for seasons to come.
“It’s about understanding the limitations of Group C chemistry to formulate a winning strategy with integrated weed management practices front of mind.
“We know they don’t have the same residual length as REFLEX, but as we have seen in trials, tank mixing a simazine or a metribuzin with REFLEX provides added breadth to weed management programs particularly from a resistance management perspective.”
REFLEX has demonstrated in-season residual activity on a broad range of weeds and excellent crop safety on a variety of soil types, with the added flexibility of application method.
“Being able to give farmers the ability to apply REFLEX post sowing, pre-emergence in numerous pulses crops – except for lentils – means that advisors will be able to achieve excellent control of those broadleaf weeds not just in the rows but in the furrow too,” Mr Considine said.
“Where logistics are particularly challenging, the ability to use REFLEX incorporated by sowing saves a pass while still achieving great control of problem weeds in the rows and reasonable activity on weeds in the furrow.”
REFLEX joins BOXER GOLD®, in an expanded pulse market portfolio from Syngenta. In further good news, Syngenta will also have a new fungicide solution available to pulse growers in the near future. An application for the registration of MIRAVIS® STAR has been submitted to the APVMA, with the fungicide set to tackle the damaging disease, Ascochyta blight. Both REFLEX and MIRAVIS STAR represent powerful new options in the arsenal of advisors working in pulses.
While MIRAVIS STAR isn’t expected until later in the year, REFLEX will soon be registered with first sales anticipated in April, a full year ahead of schedule.
“It’s a real credit to the various teams within our business that we could make this happen,” Syngenta Product Lead Garth Wickson said.
“To ensure that we fast-track the distribution of REFLEX once registration is granted, Syngenta has implemented an intensive production plan to deliver the full volume of REFLEX to the market by the end of April and assuming registration is granted as planned, a month earlier.
“This plan will see both east and west coast manufacturing facilities operating at full capacity.”
Mr Wickson said REFLEX had been strongly sort after following widespread trials of the product with numerous stores across Australia.
“We acknowledge strong demand for REFLEX in 2021 is likely to exceed the volume we are able to produce, in this short production timeframe. We are working with our distribution partners to help ensure that growers across key vetch and pulse growing areas are able to see REFLEX in the field this coming season,” Mr Wickson said.
Premium Grain Handlers managing director John Orr said having enhanced weed and disease control options, with growing international legume demand, ought to put pulses back on the table for paddock planning.
Speaking at the 2020 Syngenta WA Consultants Conference, he identified two important market opportunities between health-conscious consumers in Western Europe and China, with its growing appetite for pea protein.
Mr Orr added that Europe is now Australia’s second largest international destination for Lupins behind South Korea, a bright beacon for ongoing optimism.
“That’s what’s exciting about this,” Mr Orr said.
“We now have better agronomic packages to be able to produce pulses, and that’s happening at the same time as on the market front we’re seeing a diversification of the traditional subcontinent and Eastern European vegetable protein food market.”