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Torch weeds, not yield potential

Jeff Caldwell 03/08/2011 @ 11:05am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

You've stuck to your herbicide program and all your fields are weed-free. So, you're in good shape, right?

Sure, you may be torching your weeds, but you also may also be losing yield potential, says Iowa State University agronomist Micheal Owen. And, you could be contributing to a growing problem.

"Growers mistakenly assume that if they have killed the weeds that the herbicide system used has been successful," says Owen, also a Corn High Yield Team expert panel member. "If the weed control system is focused (like a majority across the Midwest) on postemergence applications, whether glyphosate, Ignite, or whatever, it is likely that the application timing resulted in a significant loss of potential yield and also has contributed to the increasing important selection for weed biotypes that do not respond to whatever herbicide is used."


"Diversity of weed management tactics is mandatory to provide stewardship to the traits and herbicides we now have available."

- Iowa State University agronomist Micheal Owen


 

So, how can you keep this from happening and still get the best possible weed control? Start with a soil-applied residual herbicide, Owen advises. And, start early. "Now is the time to begin making the plans for an early application of the residual products," he says.

Next, make sure you match your pre-plant residual application with the weed pressures you anticipate facing. "By the clever selection of the residual herbicide, with attention to the Group number which indicates how the herbicide impacts weeds, crop potential yield will be preserved and selection pressure on the weed population will be lessened," Owen says.

And finally, keep your herbicide plans diverse. Mixing up the herbicide programs you rely on from year to year can help keep those products effective. "Diversity of weed management tactics is mandatory to provide stewardship to the traits and herbicides we now have available," Owen says.

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