From tough-to-control weeds to aggressive late-season disease, there were many factors working against soybean yield this year.
“The dry weather in many areas put residual herbicides to the test,” says Brad Burkhart, market development specialist for Corteva Agriscience, covering Indiana. “This led to more pressure placed on postemergence applications to control those yield-robbing weeds. We also saw some soybean fields impacted by white mold very late in the season.”
Burkhart says he expects soybean weed and disease control to be a challenge next growing season too, but it’s a challenge that can be overcome with careful planning. Here are his top tips to help you push soybean yield in 2024:
- Use a program approach that includes multiple modes of action — against both weeds and disease. “Designing a program approach to both weed and disease control is critical in growing high-yield soybeans,” Burkhart says. “This best agronomic practice will help you stay ahead of the game.”
Corteva Agriscience offers a variety of soybean herbicides and fungicides that include multiple modes of action, so you can work with your local retailer to build the best program for your acres.
- Evaluate the preplant residuals program. “If you were unhappy with 2023 soybean yields, I would suggest taking a really good look at the preplant residual herbicide program used,” Burkhart says. “Starting off the season with a layered residual herbicide will create a barrier and provide control before weeds have a chance to germinate.”
- Plant early, if possible. Soybean yield can be increased by an average of 3 to 4 bushels per acre by planting early.1 It’s also important to understand the weed control challenges that can come with this timing. Find weed control resources for early planted soybeans here.
- Mark your calendar for timely applications of crop protection products, and scout regularly to avoid surprises. “When weeds such as Palmer amaranth or waterhemp get too tall, they become nearly impossible to control. If you get in the habit of spraying trophy weeds, you will get to keep a few of those trophies,” Burkhart says. “Applying herbicides when weeds are 2 to 3 inches tall will help ensure the herbicide reaches all growing points of the weed for effective control.”
In addition to timely herbicide applications, fungicides need to be applied at the right time to maximize yield in the face of a disease challenge. Regular scouting can help you identify insects, disease and early weed escapes — before it’s too late.
- Consider biological products. “Once the major agronomic practices are in check, it may be time to start thinking outside the box with new biologicals that can help supplement nitrogen in soybeans. The demand for nitrogen in a high-yield soybean crop is large, and the nodules may not be able to meet all that demand.” Burkhart says. “A biological such as Utrisha N can help supplement that need, kind of like a backup generator. Extensive trials over the last several years have shown farmers who use Utrisha N on soybeans gain an average of 2.5 bushels per acre.”
In addition to Utrisha® N, Corteva Agriscience has a growing portfolio of proven biologicals to help soybeans thrive under challenging weather or unfavorable soil conditions. View the full portfolio here.
Reach out to your local crop protection retailer or Corteva Agriscience representative to learn more about products and practices that can help push soybean yield in 2024.
1Pedersen, P. Soybean Planting Date. Iowa State University. https://crops.extension.iastate.edu/files/article/PlantingDate_000.pdf
Utrisha® N is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Always read and follow label directions.