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Hint: Focus on herbicide resistance, use residuals and stay flexible.

Sierra Day, Field editor

December 13, 2021

3 Min Read
hand adjusting nozzle on agricultural sprayer
HERBICIDE APPLICATION: Don’t forget to create a primary and backup herbicide plan moving into 2022, because inventory could be short. Be alert and remain vigilant when managing weeds. Holly Spangler

With the end of 2021 in sight, the timing is ideal to reflect on how weed management has been impacted and what it all means heading into 2022.

Bottom line: Be alert, be flexible and remain vigilant when it comes to weed management, says Aaron Hager, University of Illinois weed scientist.

“These big, expansive areas where we put these pieces of equipment that are costing hundreds of thousands of dollars that put expensive seed in the ground — well, we call those fields,” he says. “But you have to understand these are actually biological systems, and biological systems just by their definition are never static. They’re always changing.”

Truth is, you may not always be fully prepared in weed management, Hager says. You can look back at the weeds you faced in 2021, but a new weed could always occur in your fields because weed seeds can move by means such as animals or wind or water.

Key factors in 2022

So, where do you place your focus when creating a weed management plan? Hager and Karen Corrigan, agronomist and partner in McGillicuddy Corrigan Agronomics, share key factors to consider when managing weeds in 2022:

Herbicide resistance. Recently, U of I research has revealed findings such as a dicamba-resistant waterhemp population in Champaign County. Situations like this are showing that the industry is in a period of nontarget site, or metabolic, resistance. And long story short, researchers don’t know exactly why this is happening, but Hager says there isn’t always a chemical solution to this type of resistance. So, nonchemical strategies such as tillage, cover crops and crop rotation will be important to prevent weeds from hanging around.

Product availability and price. And speaking of herbicides, what about product availability and pricing in the face of global shortages? If it’s not the fear of chemical availability for 2022, then it may be an issue of not having containers to transport and hold chemicals, Corrigan says. It is also important to remember that chemical options could vary by retailer. Hager says there’s indication the price of glyphosate is rapidly increasing, and no one’s guaranteeing 2022 herbicide pricing. And the verdict is still being determined for the ruling of dicamba usage in 2022, so be prepared for whichever way the decision falls.

Soil residual usage. Hager says don’t skimp on residuals this year. Those postemergence-applied products have big availability concerns. Going into a season of uncertainty, the best plan is to keep weeds from coming out of the ground.

Don’t forget to plan

Hager and Corrigan agree, this is a year when farmers will need options for weed management because of supply chain issues.

“You need to plan, and you need at least one backup plan, if not two,” Corrigan says. Sure, you may be able to order products, but don’t count on it until the product is actually delivered.

So, call up your product supplier and develop a strong relationship, she says. Let them know the products you want, so when they become available, your supplier will call you to get your name on any available inventory.

Hager recommends farmers purchase the Weed Control Guide to help develop a primary or backup weed management plan.

And have a budget. Make sure you have a budget when prices finally release for products, Corrigan says. Then stick to that budget or change your plan.

At the end of the day, everyone is in the same boat of uncertainty and fear about availability and pricing, Hager says. Vigilance is always an absolute necessity to manage weeds.

About the Author(s)

Sierra Day

Field editor, Farm Progress

A 10th-generation agriculturist, Sierra Day grew up alongside the Angus cattle, corn and soybeans on her family’s operation in Cerro Gordo, Ill. Although she spent an equal amount in farm machinery as she did in the cattle barn as a child, Day developed a bigger passion for the cattle side of the things.

An active member of organizations such as 4-H, FFA and the National Junior Angus Association, she was able to show Angus cattle on the local, state and national levels while participating in contests and leadership opportunities that were presented through these programs.

As Day got older, she began to understand the importance of transitioning from a member to a mentor for other youth in the industry. Thus, her professional and career focus is centered around educating agriculture producers and youth to aid in prospering the agriculture industry.

In 2018, she received her associate degree from Lake Land College, where her time was spent as an active member in clubs such as Ag Transfer club and PAS. A December 2020 graduate of Kansas State University in Animal Sciences & Industry and Agricultural Communications & Journalism, Day was active in Block & Bridle and Agriculture Communicators of Tomorrow, while also serving as a communications student worker in the animal science department.

Day currently resides back home where she owns and operates Day Cattle Farm with her younger brother, Chayton. The duo strives to raise functional cattle that are show ring quality and a solid foundation for building anyone’s herd.

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