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Is Your Herbicide 'Flexible'?

Is Your Herbicide 'Flexible'?
Industry specialists say pre- or post-emergence herbicides can offer flexibility that pays.

Some terms to describe agronomic applications aren't typically used in ag lingo, and here's a good example – agronomists who work with herbicides are already talking about "herbicide flexibility."

What does that mean? You know what it means for a gymnast, or an athlete. But what does it mean to a crops farmer?

"It means you could apply the herbicide at different times in different situations," explains Mark Lawson, Danville, a Syngenta technical specialist and a farmer himself. He's primarily referring to herbicides that could be applied either pre-emergence or post-emergence.

Right size: If you have a herbicide than can be applied pre or post and decide to apply it post, be sure you understand how big the corn may be and still be sprayed over the top.

"Your plan when you bought the herbicide might be to apply it before you plant," he says. "But if we get into a wet spring with planting delays, it may become more important to get the crop in the ground and get it off to a good start than to use up time spraying ahead of planting, when you could be planting."

Then when you finish planting, you could spray for weeds, he continues. There are a number of products that will allow you this flexibility, or choice, of either applying the product onto the soil before planting, or applying it after planting, even after the crop is up.

The key is to read labels and know when the product can be applied, Lawson cautions. Some products can be applied both pre and post, but may have a much narrower window on when they can be applied. In other words, the limit on how tall the crop can be when the herbicide is applied may be tighter. Labels will specify how tall the crop can be and still be sprayed.

Another item of note: make sure you understand the system that the company used when it wrote the label in staging corn. Was it going by exposed leaves or number of leaf collars? Most agronomists today prefer the fully-exposed collar method, but some companies may still determine height or stage of growth differently.

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