As the 2021 growing season approaches, corn and soybean growers are thinking through strategies to maximize yield potential and create field conditions that will benefit their crops for years to come. As a first step, Syngenta recommends scouting fields and reviewing notes from the close of the 2020 season.
“I always try to encourage people to look at the subtle changes that are happening in the fields where you farm for a long time. Is foxtail control getting more difficult? Is waterhemp making inroads in your area?” said Bill Johnson, Ph.D., professor of weed science at Purdue University. “Maybe it’s not in your field, but maybe you’ve got some neighbors who have it. Pay attention to the subtle things.”
Across the board, researchers stress the importance of early-season weed management. “Some of the biggest findings of our research were just how competitive weeds can be early on in corn development,” said Erin Burns, Ph.D., assistant professor and extension weed scientist at Michigan State University. “There is a critical period of weed control in corn, which is mostly emphasized on weeds that germinate before or shortly after corn emergence; and controlling those weeds plays a large role in preserving yield potential within that crop.”
“A more pragmatic reason for early-season weed control, especially the use of residual herbicides around the time of planting, is that weather in the Midwest is unpredictable,” added Sarah Lancaster, Ph.D., assistant professor and extension specialist at Kansas State University. “One rain event could be the difference between a timely post-emergence herbicide application with excellent weed control or a ‘rescue’ situation with substantial yield loss, especially if preemergence herbicides were not used.”
Burns pointed to specific examples in Michigan. “Like other states, we have issues with the big weeds: waterhemp and Palmer amaranth,” she noted. “The incredible growth rate and seed production for those two species plus the ability to quickly evolve herbicide resistance are all problematic.”
All of the researchers recommend starting with clean fields, applying herbicides with multiple effective sites of action early in the season, and implementing sound agronomic practices for the most effective weed management and to minimize resistance.
“Syngenta offers a robust portfolio of premixes that protect yield potential for both corn and soybeans,” said Mark Kitt, Syngenta corn herbicide technical lead. Acuron corn herbicide contains four active ingredients, including the Syngenta-exclusive bicyclopyrone, and three effective sites of action for long-lasting residual with built-in resistance management.
“Acuron manages tough, yield-robbing weeds other products miss, and better weed management means higher yield potential,” Kitt continued. “When applied preemergence and at full-label rates, Acuron outyields competitive herbicides by 5 to 15 bushels an acre because of its unique combination of powerful weed management, longest-lasting residual and proven crop safety.”
For soybeans, Syngenta empowers growers to optimize their herbicide application for their specific field conditions and trait platform with a diverse portfolio of solutions that includes Boundary 6.5 EC, BroadAxe XC and Prefix herbicides preemergence for managing ALS-, PPO- and glyphosate-resistant weeds. These flexible options provide effective weed management across a range of geographies, soil types and across all trait systems.
Additional tools in the soybean portfolio include Tavium Plus VaporGrip Technology herbicide applied early post-emergence for effective knockdown and residual control of key weeds, including ragweed, marestail, Palmer amaranth and waterhemp; and Sequence herbicide to provide overlapping post-emergence residual to help keep soybeans clean through canopy and beyond.
“From a best operational standpoint, to delay or manage herbicide resistance, the key is to integrate some cultural strategies like high seeding rates, narrow row spacing, the use of cover crops and harvest weed seed control methods (chaff lining/seed destructors) in integration with herbicide programs,” said Prashant Jha, Ph.D., associate professor and extension weed specialist at Iowa State University. “Herbicides will always remain the foundation of our weed management programs in corn and soybeans, but complementary or alternative strategies will help to prolong the life of the chemistries we have.”
Syngenta recommends growers use sound cultural practices to manage weeds and delay the onset of herbicide resistance. For additional tips and agronomic strategies to manage weed resistance, visit ResistanceFighter.com. To calculate how much more revenue potential you can find with Acuron, visit the Revenue Calculator. To identify which soybean herbicide program will work best for your fields, use the soybean herbicide program planning tool. Join the conversation online – connect with Syngenta at Syngenta-us.com/social.