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Growers weigh options for 2021 soybean weed control

Tom J. Bechman Steve Long
CONSIDER OPTIONS: Steve Long, Franklin, Ind., will primarily stay with LibertyLink soybeans and residual herbicides. However, he’s looking at what XtendFlex beans bring to the table.
All these growers agree on one point: Residual herbicides are crucial.

If these growers are any indication, people are still evaluating weed control options for soybeans for 2021. However, there is a strong tendency to stick with what has worked while considering what new options have to offer. And there’s strong agreement that residual herbicides are key to effective weed control.

Greg Dieckmann, Buckner, Mo., participated in Bayer’s stewardship program for Asgrow XtendFlex soybeans in 2020. The XtendFlex system, with tolerance to glyphosate, dicamba and glufosinate, the active ingredient in Liberty, is approved for 2021.

“We applied XtendiMax post where we needed to and saw good results,” Dieckmann says. “We’ve used it before on Xtend soybeans and haven’t had issues with drift. However, we’re careful about where and how we use it.”

The XtendFlex option appeals to Dieckmann because it increases flexibility. “Waterhemp is our toughest weed due to late emergers,” he says. “We came in later with glufosinate than we could otherwise. It wasn’t perfect control, but it was good.”

Residual herbicides are key, Dieckmann says. He applies two residuals early, then another with a postemergence pass. He intends to plant all Asgrow XtendFlex beans in 2021. “We will spray post 21 to 28 days after planting, going after early weeds,” he says.

Another approach

Randy Waling, Rensselaer, Ind., farms primarily lower cation-exchange capacity soils, and battles Palmer amaranth. He works with his son-in-law Charles Parrish, although both have their own farms. Waling relies heavily on residual herbicides in a burndown application and has primarily used LibertyLink soybeans and sprayed Liberty postemergence.

Based partly on a suggestion by his retailer, a Ceres Solutions outlet, he planted 200 acres of Enlist 3 soybeans in 2020.

“I’m in no-till, and I see it as one more option,” he says. “I sprayed Enlist as a burndown on those 200 acres, but I didn’t use it post. Since they were 2,4-D-tolerant, I didn’t have to wait to plant.”

Waling used Liberty postemergence again in 2020. He’s a believer in applying 20 gallons per acre of spray with granular AMS to get the best results with the contact herbicide.

He also includes rye as a cover crop when feasible, having it custom-spread after harvest. “We include more glyphosate in the spring burndown to kill it,” he notes. “The rye cover seems to help on weed control, although I can’t prove it.”

Attention to details

Steve Long, Franklin, Ind., has primarily grown LibertyLink beans for several years. He has some experience with Xtend beans, growing them for seed for Beck’s, and is considering the flexibility XtendFlex offers, including protecting his soybeans from what others spray around him.

Like Waling and Dieckmann, he says residuals are key. “The goal is to start clean and use post to get escapes,” Long says. “We spray as much as we can in the fall in a normal year to control winter annuals and get a jump on weeds.”

Waterhemp has popped up over the past couple of seasons. He credits following the label and treating glufosinate as a contact chemical with getting good results.

“We apply 20 gallons per acre with AMS, and drive slower than many people,” Long says. “We also are careful about when we spray. We don’t start until the dew is off, so the herbicide doesn’t run off with water droplets. And by 7 p.m., we’re usually heading to the shed.”

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