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Don’t Curb Yield Potential by Slicing Herbicide Label Rates

Thinking about slicing inputs to save money in 2016? Makes sense. Just be sure you aren’t slicing your yield potential, too.

“Everyone is so focused on inputs with (crop) prices down,” says Randy Meyers, Bayer CropScience product development manager at this year’s Bayer AgVocacy Forum held just prior to the Commodity Classic in New Orleans. “There are always ramifications, though, that if you cut an input, you may shave off topside yield potential.” 

He notes the difference between a mediocre yield and a good yield is a fine line. Cutting or reducing the wrong input where it’s needed can cost way more in lost yield potential than the money you’re saving. 

It’s tempting to shave herbicide label rates in an attempt to reduce your chemical bill. Not only can this reduce weed control, though, but it can also select for resistant weed biotypes, says Jody Wynia, Bayer CropScience marketing manager. 

If you’re looking to cut, look at your biggest costs, he advises. “The biggest increase in the last 10 years has been in land costs,” he notes. Where applicable, shaving land costs is more beneficial to your bottom line than an equivalent cut in chemicals, he notes.

What’s hot in weeds
Besides waterhemp, Wynia notes that another fast-growing weed is marestail. He notes that one tool farmers have in their toolbox to curb marestail resistant to glyphosate and ALS inhibitor action sites (Pursuit) is Liberty Link corn (with Liberty herbicide). 

“It’s a great product to use on resistant marestail,” he says. In past years, there have been issues with supplies of Liberty herbicide, but Bayer has ramped up production. It’s also expanded lines of Liberty Link corn, too, to around 50% of hybrids being Liberty Link enabled. Wynia says this number will increase in the future.

It’s more expensive than glyphosate at around $12 per acre (plus application costs), but it can help farmers manage those resistant and tough-to-control weeds, he notes. 

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