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Timely spraying, multiple modes of action, weed control in ditches and even hand weeding are all part of the process for Belden farmer.

Curt Arens, Editor, Nebraska Farmer

August 26, 2016

3 Min Read

Weed management these days, especially in soybeans, is more challenging than it was just 10 years ago. With new herbicide-resistant weeds showing tough resistance to glyphosate and other modes of action, it takes planning and perseverance to win the battle on weeds. Jim Miller of Belden is not only waging war on his weeds, but he is taking nothing to chance.

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Miller has been employing numerous modes of action in his herbicide program, along with a spring burndown program to help alleviate yield-robbing weed pressure even late in the season. "For us, our weed management program starts in the spring with a burndown application two weeks before planting of 2-4,D and Authority Assist for a residual herbicide," Miller says. "On our 15-inch rows, our post-spraying comes around the end of June just before canopy with a treatment of Roundup, Flexstar and FirstRate. These all have different modes of action."

Miller says that they previously applied Extreme as the burndown herbicide and residual, but they weren't getting control on marestail. "That's why we went to the 2-4,D," he explains. "This year, we had a couple of fields that looked pretty clean at post-spraying, so we left out the FirstRate. But we have a few waterhemp escapes on those fields, so I walked a few fields and manually removed the escapes," he says. "I have several other fields that I'm doing the same with to keep them from going to seed."

For Miller, the big weed concerns are marestail and waterhemp. "But we need to be watching for Palmer amaranth in the future," he adds. "We have even started to go around road ditches and are spraying fence lines with 2-4,D late in the summer to clean up fence lines to keep the weeds from going to seed," he says.

While Miller's weed management program is quite comprehensive, he believes there is room for improvement. "I would also like to implement a fall burndown with possibly 2-4,D and Banvel on a few fields that have had some flooding issues, to try to get ahead of weed-resistance issues," he says. "The challenge in the fall is finding the time to get it done during harvest and before a hard freeze. That said, I know of producers who have been doing a fall burndown. They say you can tell right to the row where they sprayed, because it is so clean."

When you are combining soybeans, the freshly harvested fields may look weed-free, Miller says. "But experiences of those other producers has shown that there is value to taking care of weeds in the fall as well," he says.

About the Author(s)

Curt Arens

Editor, Nebraska Farmer

Curt Arens began writing about Nebraska’s farm families when he was in high school. Before joining Farm Progress as a field editor in April 2010, he had worked as a freelance farm writer for 27 years, first for newspapers and then for farm magazines, including Nebraska Farmer.

His real full-time career, however, during that same period was farming his family’s fourth generation land in northeast Nebraska. He also operated his Christmas tree farm and grew black oil sunflowers for wild birdseed. Curt continues to raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and runs a cow-calf herd.

Curt and his wife Donna have four children, Lauren, Taylor, Zachary and Benjamin. They are active in their church and St. Rose School in Crofton, where Donna teaches and their children attend classes.

Previously, the 1986 University of Nebraska animal science graduate wrote a weekly rural life column, developed a farm radio program and wrote books about farm direct marketing and farmers markets. He received media honors from the Nebraska Forest Service, Center for Rural Affairs and Northeast Nebraska Experimental Farm Association.

He wrote about the spiritual side of farming in his 2008 book, “Down to Earth: Celebrating a Blessed Life on the Land,” garnering a Catholic Press Association award.

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