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Serving: United States
soybean field with weeds Kyle Stackhouse

Tired of fighting the weeds

Wet start seems to give weeds the edge this year

I hope this year goes down in the books as the absolute worst year to deal with weeds. However, I fear this is only the beginning. I certainly have some changes planned out in my head for next year.

Let’s start at the beginning, I think this is where most of our problems stem from.  Because of the wet start, burndown didn’t happen in a timely manner. In many cases, burndown didn’t happen until the crop was planted and up. This led to weeds being bigger than the label would control. Since the crop had emerged, our hands were also tied on residual chemistry we could apply with the burndown. For many years we have been in the habit of using a good strong pre-emerge residual. All this got us off on the ‘wrong foot’.

Until this year, we didn’t even know we had some resistant weeds. Maybe we still don’t, maybe we just didn’t get them killed early enough. Field after field I’ve been past this year (ours and others) has had marestail grow though the herbicide application. Same thing for some of the giant ragweed, burned off, then it starts growing again. We have also encountered resistant waterhemp.

In addition, we had grass come through our non-gmo corn. That became a debacle as I sprayed every acre a second time, only to find out the dealer and company rep who walked the fields failed to identify the species of grass and gave me the wrong product. Two weeks later, they resprayed the same fields again with maybe a 10%-20% success rate. A meeting to discuss this is taking place Friday afternoon. We were in a bad place, either we risked losing bushels to the fall panicum, or we risked injuring the corn by spraying additional herbicides later in the growing season. In the end I guess we’re at risk of both.

I hope to finish spraying herbicides soon. Frankly, I’m tired of it. When you add in nutritional applications, we have been across some fields four times. I don’t think this year’s weed control is going to get any better. They say the key to preventing resistance is keeping the fields clean and not letting any escapes survive. I’ve done my part, spraying maximum rates and cocktails of maximum rates. It just hasn’t worked out.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 
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