Getting ready for this year’s soybean season starts with looking back at 2021. Knowing which weeds posed a challenge (and what other hurdles you had to get over) provides good information for your weed control program this year.
Mike Koenigs, a market development specialist for Corteva Agriscience, and Jason McVicker, a Pioneer agronomist, are both based in Illinois. They reflect on last year and on what this new year may hold for your soybean fields.
McVicker and Koenigs say the 2021 season started very well. The weather allowed for timely fieldwork and even early planting in some cases. However, conditions did not stay so perfect. There were different weather events to contend with throughout the state.
“When you cover a large geography and you get farther north of where I’m at we saw areas that didn’t get enough water and that was a big concern,” McVicker says. “Then you get down to the southern part of my territory, and they were running into some excessive rainfall. We saw a wide variety of weather patterns.”
“When you cover a large geography and you get farther north of where I’m at we saw areas that didn’t get enough water and that was a big concern. Then you get down to the southern part of my territory, and they were running into some excessive rainfall. We saw a wide variety of weather patterns.”
Koenigs adds: “When we got to harvest, it was really interesting, because overall we had good yield across the state — no doubt about it. However, there were parts of the state that had surprisingly good yields and parts of the state that had surprisingly low yields.”
In addition to weather, weeds created challenges for farmers. Unsurprisingly, one weed stood out among the rest in Illinois.
“The No. 1 weed that comes to mind is waterhemp. We’re getting a pretty good handle on it by continuing to use powerful, residual herbicides,” McVicker says. “I tell farmers the best way to manage waterhemp is to do everything in your power to keep it from emerging.”
“The No. 1 weed that comes to mind is waterhemp. We’re getting a pretty good handle on it by continuing to use powerful, residual herbicides.”
Koenigs agrees that waterhemp is the most difficult weed in both soybean fields AND cornfields in Illinois. He says there is another that is a close contender in soybeans.
“In soybeans, waterhemp, waterhemp, waterhemp is probably the worst weed we have to deal with,” Koenigs says. “There are others that are extremely problematic though, like marestail, which is a huge issue early in the season. Those two tend to be the worst.”
Koenigs and McVicker say the best way to deal with those tough, herbicide-resistant weeds is to create a program approach to weed control that includes multiple applications, several modes of action and residual control.
In soybeans, a good program should start with a burndown application, such as Elevore® herbicide. A program should also include an effective preemergence solution, such as Kyber™ herbicide, which has three effective modes of action and extended residual control. Finally, a program should include a timely postemergence application of a residual product, such as EverpreX® herbicide, which can be used on any soybean variety. For Enlist E3® soybeans, Kyber is also a great choice for preemergence application, followed by Enlist One® herbicide or Enlist Duo® herbicide postemergence.
“As new technology comes on the market, farmers are doing a great job of working with their trusted advisers and learning to use those full programs, especially when it comes to weed control. They’re not just relying on one particular trait or one particular chemistry to cure all their woes,” McVicker explains. “They know we need to continue to use that layered approach and we’re even starting to take that the next step further and doing that from an insect management standpoint. Farmers are seeing the value at harvest with those additional inputs.”
Herbicide resistance continues to be a serious challenge for farmers across the country. Koenigs and McVicker say using a program approach will help mitigate the resistant weeds from developing.
“In 2021, Illinois and Tennessee confirmed some populations of dicamba-resistant waterhemp and Arkansas confirmed that it has some populations of Palmer amaranth that’s resistant to glufosinate,” Koenigs says. “So, if we continue to try to use a single mode of action, or the same mode of action over and over again, we will continue to have weeds develop resistance and we will lose some of the valuable weed control tools that we have. We need to use those tools in a system or program approach with multiple modes of action and multiple layered residuals. By doing this, we can slow down resistance and extend the life of postemergence herbicide options.”
“If we continue to try to use a single mode of action, or the same mode of action over and over again, we will continue to have weeds develop resistance and we will lose some of the valuable weed control tools that we have.”
And, in 2022, it will be especially important for farmers to rely heavily on those preemergence residual solutions. The supply chain challenges have put constraints on certain postemergence products, driving up costs. So, Koenigs and McVicker advise working closely with your ag retailer to ensure you have the chemistries you need this spring.
“You can make the best plans in the world, but if you can’t get the product you’re planning on putting out there, you better have that backup plan,” McVicker says.
Knowing the challenges you overcame (and how you overcame them) in 2021 will help you get ready for whatever comes your way in 2022. So, talk with your trusted advisers and make sure you’re prepared, because spring is almost here.
The transgenic soybean event in Enlist E3® soybeans is jointly developed and owned by Corteva Agriscience LLC and MS Technologies, L.L.C. Enlist Duo® and Enlist One® herbicides are not registered for sale or use in all states or counties. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your area. Enlist Duo and Enlist One herbicides are the only 2,4-D products authorized for use with Enlist® crops. Consult Enlist herbicide labels for weed species controlled. Elevore®, EverpreX® and Kyber™ are 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. Consult the label before purchase or use for full details. Always read and follow label directions.
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