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Avoiding soybean yield loss to volunteer corn requires special management.

Tom J. Bechman, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer

February 9, 2023

1 Min Read
volunteer cornstalk in soybean field
PLANNED ATTACK: Due to antagonism issues, controlling volunteer corn may take more management than just adding an extra herbicide into the sprayer tank. Tom J. Bechman

Should you eliminate volunteer corn in soybean stands? If you’ve got an average of two, three or four stalks per square meter, Jami Loecker says the answer is clear-cut: Take it out. Soybean yield losses can add up quickly, based on documented test results. Even if you’ve got a somewhat lower concentration of volunteer corn, the Golden Harvest specialist says it still may pay to spray it and kill it.

Several herbicides have good activity on volunteer corn, including Select Max, Assure II and Fusilade DX.

“The problem becomes that it may take more than just adding the recommended rate of one of these herbicides to the tank as you make your normal postemergence weed control pass on soybeans,” Loecker says. “There tends to be antagonism with these products and some other typical soybean post herbicides — particularly dicamba and 2,4-D for traited soybeans. If you just dump the herbicide for volunteer corn in the tank, you may not get control you are expecting.”

The best advice is to apply the herbicide of your choice for volunteer corn in a separate trip, she says. However, that may not be feasible in some operations.

If your only option is applying them together, you may need to increase the rate for the herbicide for volunteer corn. The other option is to adjust your expectations on how much control you will achieve.

The bottom line is that volunteer corn deserves targeting, and taking it out may require special management, Loecker concludes.

Read more about:

Volunteer Corn

About the Author(s)

Tom J. Bechman

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Tom J. Bechman is editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer. He joined Farm Progress in 1981 as a field editor, first writing stories to help farmers adjust to a difficult harvest after a tough weather year. His goal today is the same — writing stories that help farmers adjust to a changing environment in a profitable manner.

Bechman knows about Indiana agriculture because he grew up on a small dairy farm and worked with young farmers as a vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor before joining Farm Progress. He works closely with Purdue University specialists, Indiana Farm Bureau and commodity groups to cover cutting-edge issues affecting farmers. He specializes in writing crop stories with a focus on obtaining the highest and most economical yields possible.

Tom and his wife, Carla, have four children: Allison, Ashley, Daniel and Kayla, plus eight grandchildren. They raise produce for the food pantry and house 4-H animals for the grandkids on their small acreage near Franklin, Ind.

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