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Brad Wade, left, Bryan Young, center, Rick Van Genderen Fran O'Leary
Brad Wade, Illinois corn and soybean grower, left, Bryan Young, Purdue University weed science professor, center, and Rick Van Genderen, BASF global lead soy and corn seed and trait strategy, participated in the controlling weeds in the future panel discussion at the Farm Progress Show.

Growers need to employ combination of tools to control weeds

Expert panel says weed control will be more challenging in next decade

Corn and soybean growers will need to employ a variety of tools to control weeds during the next several years, a panel discussing weed control advised Wednesday at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill.

Participating in the panel discussion on the future of weed control in corn and soybeans was Brad Wade, Illinois corn and soybean grower; Bryan Young, Purdue University weed science professor; and Rick Van Genderen, BASF global lead soy and corn seed and trait strategy.

Wade said growers are in a tough spot.

“Weed control is always changing,” Wade explained. “As a farmer, we have to be adaptable and try new things when they become available.”

Young echoed Wade’s comments.

“We’re not going to have many new herbicides between now and 2025,” Young said. “We need to learn to work with what we have.”

Van Genderen advised farmers to manage weeds with the tools that are available.

“The approval of trait technologies in China and the EU takes five to seven years,” he said. “We have some chemicals in the pipeline that will be introduced with the trait, but that will take time.”

In the meantime, Van Generen said farmers need to come up with a long-term strategy to control weeds.

Young suggested that weed management going forward will require stewardship.

“We should adapt a zero tolerance for weeds going to seed,” Young said. He suggested farmers employ a combination of tools to control weeds including traits, chemicals and non-chemical means including:

  • Using UAVs to do spot applications of chemicals
  • More crop rotation
  • Switching from planting soybeans in 30-inch rows to narrower rows
  • Cultivation

“You have to manage across your two- or three-year crop rotation,” Young said. “Fortunately, we have stacked traits that we need to combine with cultural practices to give us flexibility. Those are some things we can do. Stacked traits make things easier.”

The panel was asked to name one or two of the most important things growers need to do now.

Wade said the most important thing to do is decide who is going to be on your management team.

“It’s going to require more than one meeting,” Wade said. “The second thing is don’t waste time this fall. We’ve been behind this whole growing season. We don’t want to be scrambling to control weeds next spring.”

Van Genderen said farmers need to employ multiple tools in the same year to control weeds.

“You may need to use different strategies to control weeds in problem fields,” he said.

Young cautioned that growers will see more weeds this year, especially in areas that experienced prevented planting.

“Be aware of what weeds you see this fall and what field you take the combine into next,” he said. “Think about the weed seed this year and what the weeds are going to do next year.”

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