The three-year project was the largest investment in the history of the BASF crop protection unit, Debbie Dalley, Beaumont site director, said during the live-streamed ceremony.
“The investment marks a very important investment by BASF to remain competitive with a very competitive compound in a very competitive industry,” says Markus Heidt, president of BASF’s crop protection business unit.
The company also has invested an additional $290 million in eight other U.S. production facilities, including ones in Hannibal, Mo., and Sparks, Ga.
The Beaumont facility historically produced dicamba, but the expansion will add capacity to manufacture Engenia—the company’s new BAPMA dicamba formulation. It is paired with cotton and soybean varieties genetically modified to withstand in-season over-the-top applications of dicamba.
The Beaumont plant also is BASF’s only facility in the United States that manufactures dicamba. In addition, it produces dimethenamid-P, the active ingredient in Outlook herbicide.
Between 2005 and 2015, the number of glyphosate-resistant weeds has grown to 35 from 10. To slow the same thing from happening to dicamba, BASF has developed best management practices for the herbicide, says Paul Rea, senior vice president of North American crop protection.
Several years ago, the company launched its On Target Application Academy to provide applicators with guidelines to maximize application efficacy while minimizing the potential for off-target pesticide movement. The same practices apply to dicamba.
So far, more than 15,000 applicators across 31 states have completed the course.