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There's a big difference between glyphosate and glufosinate

With all the things you have on your mind these days, it's easy to see how you could initially confuse glyphosate and glufonsinate.

Both start with the letter G. Both are non-selective herbicides used on herbicide-resistant crops. Both control a large spectrum of weeds.

But there's a big difference in optimum application times. This initial confusion in past years has concerned Bryan Young, a Southern Illinois University weed scientist. Young spoke on this topic at the Bayer CropScience Ag Issues forum at the 2009 Commodity Classic.

"I've had growers in the past think glyphosate and glufosinate are the same," he says. Meanwhile, they have thought that different formulations of glyphosate are different chemicals. There's a difference in the way that glyphosate and glufosinate works, he says.

This year, Bayer CropScience will market Ignite (which contains the active ingredient glufosinate) for use on LibertyLink soybeans.

Although it might not be the optimum treatment time, glyphosate can kill big weeds, such as 12-inch high ones.

"Big grass species are difficult to kill with Ignite," says Young. That's why successful Ignite use on LibertyLink soybeans will entail early applications, when weeds are 4 inches tall or less.
Young's recommendations for successful weed control on LibertyLink soybeans include:

  • Starting with a clean field
  • Staying clean with an appropriate residual herbicide
  • Applying Ignite postemergence at a 22 ounce per acre rate approximately 22 days after emergence, or whenever weeds reach a 3- to 4-inch height
  • Keeping in mind a second later postemergence Ignite application may be necessary.

Young says LibertyLink soybeans gives farmers another mode of action for soybean weed control. That's a plus in forestalling the development of herbicide-resistant or herbicide-tolerant weeds, he says.

For successful use, though, Ignite applications before weeds reach a 4-inch height are essential in preserving soybean yields, says Young. "Glufosinate has no residual control," says Young. "That's why we have to apply it early."

With all the things you have on your mind these days, it's easy to see how you could initially confuse glyphosate and glufonsinate.

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