Corn School: Beat the stock market – invest in weed control

For people who play the stock market, an opportunity to cash in on an 826 per cent return on investment doesn’t come along too often.

But Ontario farmers can realize this type of return every time they apply herbicide in corn fields that experience intense weed pressure, says University of Guelph weed scientist Dr. Peter Sikkema.

“Most people don’t appreciate the tremendous return on investment in weed management in corn,” says Sikkema who outlined his case for investing in weed control at the recent SouthWest Agricultural Conference at Ridgetown, Ont.

On our latest RealAgriculture Corn School episode, Sikkema notes that corn is very sensitive to weed interference and can typically lose up to 51 per cent of yield if weeds are not controlled. Based on an average yield of 161 bu/ac earning $5.32 per bushel, losing 51 percent of that yield would cost growers $436 per acre. If growers spend the average cost of effective weed control — just over $52/ac — they can see a return of up to 826 per cent on that investment, says Sikkema. (Story continues after the video.)

In the interview, Sikkema also shares several other weed management observations he’s made in his 25-year research career. He stresses the importance of corn weed control timing. In heavy weed pressure, corn losses can be greater than 3 bu/ac for every day post-emergent herbicide application is delayed.

Sikkema also discusses the impact time-of-day application has on post-emerge herbicides such as Liberty and glyphosate, and explains why it’s critical to know the species and the height of the weeds you are targeting.

Click here for more Corn School episodes.

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