Supporting Variety Development Through the Clearfield® Commitment

Grower support for the Clearfield® Lentil System ensures continued variety development and advancement

by Amanda Ryan

With over three million acres of Clearfield® lentil varieties planted in 2017, the Clearfield® production system launched by BASF Canada in 2007 accounts for a substantial amount of Saskatchewan lentil production.

“The Clearfield® system for lentils is the only herbicide tolerant system that supports the use of a broad spectrum, post-emergent herbicide (BASF imidazolinone) in lentils," says Trevor Latta, Brand Manager — Clearfield® Technology with BASF Canada.

The Clearfield® lentil varieties available to growers were developed by the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre, and are accessible through Saskatchewan Pulse Growers’ (SPG) Variety Release Program.

“Clearfield® lentils have helped to expand the adapted area of lentil production in Saskatchewan. Today, a vast majority of the lentils planted in the province are Clearfield® lentil varieties,” says Carl Potts, Executive Director of SPG. “Clearfield® lentil varieties are tolerant to to BASF Clearfield® herbicides such as Ares, Odyssey®, and Solo®. They provide growers with good weed control options, particularly when Group 2 resistant weeds are not a problem.”

Farmers who have purchased or are planning to purchase Clearfield® lentils must sign an Evergreen Clearfield® Commitment and/or register their acres annually. This is an agreement between the grower and BASF, which is not only a license to use the technology, but also a tool that helps BASF implement proper stewardship and protect the integrity of the Clearfield® system and ensure its future development and sustainability. 

“The Evergreen Commitment provides stewardship guidelines, which allows growers a license to use BASF’s Clearfield® trait technology,” adds Latta.

The Clearfield® Commitment is an important part of growing Clearfield® lentils. Growers who have signed the commitment are required to register their acres and adhere to proper stewardship of their crop system by using only registered Clearfield®
lentil herbicides. 

“Signing the Evergreen Clearfield® Commitment and adhering to the stewardship practices is important, because it outlines and explains proper and responsible use of the Clearfield® trait technology regarding seed and BASF herbicide responsibility, which meets government and industry regulations. In addition, it manages product identity, integrity, and quality, which provides confidence in Canadian-produced lentils of high quality for export,” says Latta.

As with all crop protection products, it is critical that growers apply only registered products and apply them according to the label to mitigate market risks. “The vast majority of pulses are exported and growers understand the importance of maintaining access to those markets. The Canadian pulse industry is working together with the Cereals Canada and the Canola Council of Canada to promote the Keep it Clean! program to minimize risks when accessing  our important international markets,” notes Potts.

“It is really about continued grower education and awareness with the terms of use in the Evergreen Commitment and the benefits that the Clearfield® lentil system provides to growers,” explains Latta.

Potts adds that having a signed Clearfield® Commitment in place provides growers access to complimentary testing of seed to confirm the presence of the Clearfield® trait, and to provide seed quality and disease testing information. The BASF Clearfield®-confirm test ensures that the Clearfield® lentil seed sample has not been contaminated with non-Clearfield® seed, and that it maintains the appropriate level of tolerance to Clearfield® lentil herbicides.

Growers that sign a Clearfield® Commitment and purchase BASF registered products are also supporting ongoing research and the development of new Clearfield® lentil varieties to advance the pulse industry.

“Through SPG, Saskatchewan pulse producers make major investments in pulse crop variety development at the CDC at the U of S, so having a Clearfield® Commitment in place helps to leverage growers’ investments with additional revenue from BASF in support of pulse crop variety development,” says Potts. “When growers sign a Clearfield® Commitment, register Clearfield® acres, and use registered herbicides, a portion of BASF’s herbicide sales are reinvested into pulse crop variety development at the CDC, resulting in better varieties for growers in the future.”

To date, BASF has contributed over $10 million to the CDC since the launch of Clearfield® lentils in 2007. This leveraged funding supports research and development into new, innovative Clearfield® lentil varieties for Saskatchewan growers, resulting in a better return on investment.