Idaho bean growers want old herbicide back

The discontinued product is used to control the weed nightshade.

TIMES-NEWS (TWIN FALLS)July 3, 2014 

The Idaho Bean Commission has asked Gowan, a crop-protection products company, to rerelease Eptam 20g.

Idaho bean producers have told the commission that nightshade is a growing concern that creates significant yield reduction, staining, harvesting and sanitary issues.

It's estimated that growers spend an average of $4.6 million each year on chemical control of weeds. The loss in revenue due to nightshade competition, damage to beans, and docking at the warehouse is estimated at $2 million to $6 million annually.

Hand-weeding crews cost up to $250 per acre.

Some fields are a complete loss if the nightshade is too thick and prevents harvest.

Finding efficient and cost-effective means to control both nightshade and nutsedge has been a challenge since Eptam 20g was discontinued in 2008. While liquid Eptam is available and often used as a preplant treatment, this leaves a gap in coverage that the granular 20G product would fill.

To get the product manufactured and distributed, Gowan needs a firm commitment from growers, the commission said. The commission is encouraging bean growers to contact their ag chemical suppliers to express their desire for the product.

A meeting with Gowan and agricultural chemical distributors is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, at the University of Idaho Business and Technology Incubator in Caldwell. A video link will be provided for growers, dealers and other interested people at the Research and Extension Center in Kimberly.

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