BASF’s Luximo® herbicide active substance approved in Great Britain

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BASF has received approval in Great Britain for its new active substance, Luximo®, and the product containing this active, Luxinum® Plus, providing a new mode of action against grassweeds and a vital tool for controlling black-grass and Italian ryegrass, Britain’s most challenging arable weeds.

The news achieves two important milestones, explains Rob Gladwin, BASF’s Head of Technical Management for Agricultural Products UK/IRE.

“Firstly, it is 21 years since the current market standard, flufenacet, was registered for use in the UK market as Crystal in 2001; and secondly, Luximo is the first wholly CRD-managed active substance approval gained by any manufacturer since crop protection regulation was repatriated following Brexit.”

Luximo® is the BASF brand name for cinmethylin, a soil residual active substance for grass and broad-leaved weed control in winter wheat, for application at pre and early post-emergence timings.

“We know how important Luximo will be for growers given the march of resistant black-grass, both geographically and biologically,” Rob adds. “It’s two years since the Institute of Zoology valued England’s annual economic loss from resistant black-grass at £0.4 billion in lost gross profit, and certainly the situation has worsened since this calculation.”

Introduction crucial

The introduction of this mode of action is crucial, Rob adds, because it works differently to existing chemistry and therefore can work against resistant black-grass and Italian ryegrass biotypes.

For 10 years, Stuart Kevis, BASF’s herbicide business development Manager, has worked on the development of Luximo® and has assessed thousands of greenhouse and field trials involving the active substance. He sees this herbicide, not just as an alternative to flufenacet, but rather a replacement for it.

“When comparing pre-emergence applications of solo flufenacet and solo Luximo, 85% of 103 farmer-led and BASF black-grass trials conducted over four years, found that Luximo was more effective than flufenacet, with a much more consistent range of performance,” Stuart says. “The mean control from solo Luximo in those trials was 78% compared with 58% from flufenacet.”

While in greenhouse sensitivity tests, submitted as part of the product’s regulatory approval process, samples from 196 black-grass populations, including 40% of which were resistant to Atlantis (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron), showed no cross-resistance to Luximo®.

“What stands out to us is the consistency of the results, Luximo reliably outperforms flufenacet in the control of black-grass and more than halves seed return compared with flufenacet,” he says.

For Italian ryegrass, he adds that Luximo® also shows very good activity. “There is a similar uplift in performance over flufenacet, as we see against black-grass, so solo Luximo® is at least 20% better. Early indications are that Luximo® performs well against difficult ryegrass populations, including those populations that might be resistant to flufenacet.

“It’s important to mention that whilst these results were achieved when using Luximo as a solo applied active, for trial purposes, the use of complementary partner products is vital for retaining the field performance of Luximo for the long term.”

Product stewardship important

He adds that product stewardship must be kept front of mind by growers and agronomists. “Now that we have this all-important herbicide active substance, we must do all that we can to protect it from diminishing field performance, which will mean that growers will need to maintain a firm focus on good cultural control, careful choice of tank-mix partners and applying the herbicide at the right time, in the best conditions and at the correct rates.”

Other attributes of Luximo® will be welcomed, Stuart suggests, “Dry autumn soils have long-been a challenge for good performance from pre-emergence actives, so what’s really heartening about Luximo is that it needs less moisture than the current market standards, which, in essence, will give growers more available spray days.”

Consistent with BASF’s drive to help farmers enhance their business sustainability, Stuart adds that “over 50% of the raw materials needed to develop Luximo are derived from natural and sustainable sources, including pine tree resin and paper manufacturing by-products.”

Luximo® will be available this autumn as Luxinum® Plus, in combination with partner products. Further, Luximo® containing products that farmers will be able to buy are currently under evaluation at CRD and will also contain partner active substances such as pendimethalin.

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