“If waterhemp gets away from you once, you’ll likely pay the price in your soybean fields for the next decade,” says Ron Geis, market development specialist, Corteva Agriscience.
Today, waterhemp is known as one of the worst weeds Midwest farmers have to tangle with each season, but it wasn’t always this way. Native to North America, waterhemp was just a plant that kept more to marshy areas than farm fields. In the last 25 to 30 years, however, waterhemp populations have exploded.
“As we’ve become more reliant on herbicides for weed control, waterhemp populations have escalated,” Geis says. “And for many years, our herbicides only utilized a single mode of action, which allowed waterhemp to adapt and become resistant to many products.”
“If waterhemp gets away from you once, you’ll likely pay the price in your soybean fields for the next decade.”
Geis says there are three key attributes that have made waterhemp increasingly difficult to control:
The chances of waterhemp evolving resistance to herbicides that utilize a single mode of action is very high. That’s why it’s important to implement a program approach that incorporates multiple modes of action. In fact, Geis recommends using between seven and nine modes of action over a two-year rotation cycle.
A program approach means starting clean with a burndown, using powerful preemergence herbicides with residual activity and then using effective postemergence herbicides that also have residual activity.
In addition to using a strategic combination of herbicides, you can implement several cultural practices to control waterhemp, such as:
“Keeping weeds from going to seed is your best defense for long-term waterhemp management,” Geis concludes. Visit the soybean herbicides portfolio page on Corteva.us to help find the right solutions for your fields this season.
1 United Soybean Board. 2020. Waterhemp. https://iwilltakeaction.com/weed/common-waterhemp.
Find expert insights on agronomics, crop protection, farm operations and more.