Soybean School: Strategies for season-long weed control


Weed control is not an exact science, especially when Mother Nature throws curveballs at growers throughout the growing season.

BASF agronomist Ken Currah says the extremes of the 2023 growing season are a good example of why it’s best to think season-long when planning a weed control program. During spring, as dry conditions continued through planting, many growers backed off their use of pre-emergent herbicide fearing a shortage of activating rains. But when it started raining in mid-June many of those growers didn’t have the residual power or the ability to use contact herbicides to control the weed deluge that followed.

On this episode of the RealAgriculture Soybean School, Currah looks at strategies growers can use to maintain season-long weed control, and how keeping fields clean plays a key role in managing the threat of weed resistance, including multiple resistant waterhemp and multiple herbicide resistant common ragweed.

When it comes to managing resistant weeds, Currah notes that using new herbicide tolerant technology, including dicamba and 2,4-D, gives farmers an opportunity to use additional modes of action. While these technologies predominantly use contact herbicides other than glyphosate, Currah notes that the application timing does give growers an option to lay down some “pretty strong” residual products.

“We have an opportunity to manage our soybean crop from a weed control standpoint, with a residual program up front and some residuals in-crop and that’s really important,” says Currah. (Story continues after the video.)

Looking ahead to 2024, Currah also recommends that growers work with their agronomist or certified crop advisor to get a good understanding of the many herbicide co-pacs and pre-mixes that provide options to add more residual control throughout the season.

“In a two-pass program, one of those passes โ€” probably the first โ€” is going to have residuals,” says Currah. “But with the two-pass program there’s an opportunity now to use some of these residual products in ways we were not able to 10 years ago.”

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