Wallaces Farmer

Tips to maximize your herbicide pass

When controlling weeds, it is important to consider the basics of herbicide applications to maximize crop yield potential.

May 1, 2024

4 Min Read
Weed management basics to maximize yield
Submitted by Beck's Hybrids

When controlling weeds, it is important to consider the basics to maximize crop yield potential. If you want to ensure your herbicide application is adequate, you must also consider certain additives that aid in chemistry efficiency.

Early planning will provide you with the best chance to secure products or allow time to source alternative products if necessary. Utilizing nanotechnology, correct spray nozzles, and incorporating water conditioners can help maximize your herbicide pass.

Beck’s multi-year Practical Farm Research (PFR)® data has demonstrated the impact and importance of utilizing a pre-emerge program with multiple sites of action (SOAs) (Figure 1). Including full rates and multiple SOAs can help fight against your toughest weeds and combat resistance issues.


After crop emergence, monitoring weed emergence and growth is critical to controlling weeds when they are less than 4 in. tall. Another consideration is spraying by the calendar date rather than waiting for weeds to flourish.

Many factors affect the control obtained from the post-emerge application, but targeting small weeds gives us the best opportunity to effectively control emerged weeds. The post-emerge pass is essential to help bridge this gap between your pre-emerge spray and crop canopy.


Nanotechnology is relatively new to agriculture but is being explored and used in medicine and pharmacology. The basic concept is to take a nanoparticle with a charged shell and bind additional molecules to improve uptake efficiency. In their PFR program, Beck’s experts have tested nanotechnology in foliar applications of micro-nutrients and fungicides but have not tested it in herbicide applications.

The results from two years of testing have demonstrated a consistent advantage to adding NanoPro® to the tank. The hope for nanotechnology in herbicide applications is to provide greater penetrations through weed cuticles and tissues, allowing for a slow and constant release of active substances.


The nozzle type for herbicide applications affects the amount of product applied, the uniformity and coverage of the product, and the amount of drift that can occur. Generally, the flat-fan nozzle type is the best choice for broadcast applications of herbicides due to its uniform pattern and good overlap capability. A flat-fan nozzle recommended operating pressure is between 20 and 30 psi. It is also important to note that some chemistries like dicamba require certain nozzles that spray ultra-coarse droplets to help reduce drift.

Nozzle Guide for Broadcast Spraying



Water is normally used to deliver a chemical to targeted weeds, so it should be considered the foundation of the application process. Hard water with a high pH can have an impact on the efficacy of not only your herbicides but fungicides and insecticides as well. As a general guide, pesticide performance is best in slightly acidic water with a pH between 4 and 6.5. Pesticides, typically, are formulated as weak acids or neutral to weakly-alkaline products. For best product efficiency, the spray solution should have a pH between 6.0 and 8.0.

Water conditioners are easily added to the tank to aid in the performance of herbicides susceptible to the negative effects of hard water. Water conditioners like Brandt Indicate 5® or Choice® Trio are PFR Proven products.

Reverse osmosis is known to remove hard water ions like calcium and magnesium that can bind with spray ingredients and render them less effective. In their PFR research, Beck’s has not seen consistent results with the reverse osmosis system over two years of testing.

For more information and best practices on herbicide applications, check out Beck’s weed management resources and 2024 Soybean Herbicide Recommendations guide.

Beck's - Farmers At Heart® - revolutionized the customer seed buying experience by remaining true to a foundation built on faith, family, and farming. Founded in 1937, Beck's appreciates the farmers who have helped them become the largest family-owned retail seed company and the third-largest seed brand in the United States. The Beck family is now in its fifth generation of family members who work in the business to honor God and help farmers succeed. The Beck family and team of employees help farmers achieve success from generation to generation through authentic customer experiences, product diversity, seed quality, and performance. With a home office located in Atlanta, Ind., Beck's serves farmers throughout the Midwest and Mid-South. For more information about Beck's Superior Hybrids, Inc., visit www.beckshybrids.com.

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