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Crop roundup: weed management

BASF releases survey results showing majority of farmers deal with glyphosate-resistant weeds, Dow AgroSciences provides training for the Enlist system, and a new report indicates producers in the Chesapeake Bay have increased conservation measures.

New survey sponsored by BASF shows majority of growers face glyphosate-resistant weeds
out of four growers who participated in a recent survey by BASF suspect
that glyphosate resistance is a cause of their tough to control weeds.
As a result, a 76 percent of these growers have already changed their
weed management program to address resistance.

In addition, many
growers have experienced lower yields, which they attribute to resistant
weeds. These growers have also spent more time scouting and invested
more money in their crops due to resistant weeds.

In the survey,
growers identified how they plan to change their programs in 2014. More
than two-thirds of growers indicated that they would be applying a
preemergence herbicide this season and more than half of growers are
planning to add an additional herbicide to their existing program.
Additionally, 50 percent of growers plan to use more than one site of
action and 47 percent said they plan on using overlapping residual
herbicides to control resistant weeds.

"These results show that
growers are beginning to understand the need for a comprehensive weed
management approach," said Greg Armel, Ph.D., Technical Market Manager,
BASF. "Growers are realizing the importance of using residual herbicides
and multiple, overlapping herbicide sites of action."

The survey
also highlighted the weeds that growers found the toughest to control
in 2013. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said waterhemp was the most
difficult to control, while 54 percent said that ragweed species were
the toughest to control. Lambsquater and marestail were also identified
as difficult weeds.

To combat these tough weeds, growers are now looking for solutions to meet their specific crop needs.

half of the herbicide sites of action currently available in the U.S.,
BASF is a key resource for growers fighting resistant weeds. BASF has 12
different herbicide sites of action with products for all application

To find out more information about the BASF herbicide
portfolio, visit the Advanced Weed Control website. The website provides
growers with the latest expert information, recommendations and
insights on effective weed control, including videos from local
agronomists and weed scientists discussing strategies specific to
geographies across the Midwest and South.

Industry readies for launch of Enlist system with Enlist 360 field training

This summer, more than 5,000 retailers, seed sellers and growers participated in Enlist 360 field training. The field training provided a learning experience on the components of the Enlist Weed Control System, a new herbicide-tolerant trait technology from Dow AgroSciences. The company continues to focus on training and learning opportunities for the Enlist system as the technology awaits regulatory approvals.

“We want to prepare the industry for the introduction of this new technology so that when it’s available, farmers, retailers and seed sellers can hit the ground running and get the most out of the technology while using it responsibly,” says Damon Palmer, U.S. commercial leader for the Enlist Weed Control System.

Dow AgroSciences is employing a multifaceted approach to education. Enlist field specialists and team members demonstrated how the system will work at regional Dow AgroSciences Technology Centers in Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota and Tennessee.

Training participants learned about the three components of the Enlist system: Enlist traits, Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology, and the Enlist Ahead management resource.

Field demonstrations of Enlist Duo herbicide and on-target application
Drift and volatility demonstrations highlighted how Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology — a proprietary blend of new 2,4-D choline and glyphosate — reduces the potential for off-target movement compared with a tank mix of glyphosate and traditional 2,4-D.

At plot locations, attendees were greeted by a display of weeds common to their area. Giant ragweed, lambsquarters, waterhemp and Palmer amaranth stood in a small plot marked untreated. As the participants continued their training, they observed a clean plot that had been treated with a preemergent soil-applied residual herbicide followed by Enlist Duo herbicide.

To ensure the Enlist™ system is a sustainable solution for the long term, Dow AgroSciences will recommend growers incorporate a program approach to their weed control.

“The program approach will include a residual herbicide, such as Sonic herbicide for soybeans or SureStart herbicide for corn, followed by Enlist Duo herbicide,” Palmer says. “This will provide growers with early season residual control of weeds, and it is also a proactive approach to weed resistance management.”

Tolerances demonstrate system sustainability 

Dow AgroSciences representatives pointed to side-by-side corn and soybean plots to highlight the excellent tolerance Enlist crops have to Enlist Duo herbicide.

Looking to provide a sustainable herbicide-tolerant system, Dow AgroSciences has included additional tolerances with the Enlist crops. Enlist corn will also have tolerance to the FOP class of herbicides, including Assure II herbicide. Enlist soybeans, Enlist E3 soybeans and Enlist cotton also will provide tolerance to glufosinate.

Management resource is key

The Enlist Ahead management resource is designed to help growers and applicators succeed while promoting the responsible use of the Enlist system. This includes best management practices associated with the Enlist™ system, such as nozzle selection, tank cleanout and using program approach recommendations.

Using a spray table, Dow AgroSciences presenters demonstrated an array of spray patterns and droplet sizes that different nozzles create. Participants could see how low-drift nozzles that produce a coarse to extremely coarse droplet size in combination with a solution having similar characteristics to Enlist Duo herbicide will deliver the most favorable result for weed control while reducing the potential for off-target movement.

Growers, retailers and seed sellers will have more opportunities to learn about the Enlist system, including in-person and online training sessions, he says.

Pending regulatory approvals, Dow AgroSciences expects to launch Enlist corn and soybeans in 2015, with cotton to follow.    

NRCS CEAP Report Shows Promising Progress in the Health of Waters in the Bay

Along the shores of Chesapeake Bay, farmers like Temple Rhodes, of Centreville, Md., prove farming can be productive and profitable while preserving the Bay.  Few regions of the country are more closely scrutinized, and Rhodes is not alone in his efforts to reduce nutrient losses from his cropland.

This week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) released a new Conservation Effectiveness Assessment Project (CEAP) report for the Chesapeake Bay. The assessment indicates that producers in the Bay have significantly increased their conservation measures to improve and protect water quality. A separate study performed by USDA NRCS and Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) to assess the Upper Chester River watershed in Maryland also indicated Bay farmers are taking action. Complementing the CEAP results, the previous targeted watershed audit of the Upper Chester River found that 97 percent of the cropped acres had a nutrient management plan with more than 50 percent of the farmers utilizing multiple practices to manage nitrogen. That assessment was also performed in 2011 using a thorough assessment auditing 53 land owners representing 87 percent of the watershed acres.

Rhodes has multiple reasons for intensively managing the nutrients he applies to the soil his family depends on to grow corn, soybeans and wheat. As a businessman, he doesn’t want to spend his fertilizer dollars ineffectively. As a grower, he relies on fertilizer to enrich the productivity of the land. And as an avid outdoorsman, Rhodes is serious about the responsibility of taking care of the soil and water resources that enhance his life as well as the lives of the non-farm public.

To achieve his objectives, Rhodes works with Willard Agri-Service, a Maryland-based agribusiness to implement the 4Rs, fertilizer best management practices selected to apply the right nutrient source, at the right rate, in the right time and in the right place. Willard Agri-Service applies custom liquid fertilizers and crop protectants and offers Chesapeake Bay farmers data collection support and related crop production. 

“Embracing fertilizer best management practices improve yields and profitability of today’s harvests,” says Willard Agri-Service’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing Mike Twining. “These same practices also reduce the loss of nutrients to the Bay by converting ever higher percentages of the applied nutrients into healthy food and fiber for human consumption. Our clients are increasingly adopting practices similar to those on Rhodes farm.”

Rhodes’ farming practices offer insight to the types of practices being implanted in the Chesapeake Bay. To reduce nutrient loss, he never applies fertilizer on the soil surface. A modified strip-till planter enables him to place nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium eight inches below the surface for corn and soybean production. That gets nutrients right into the root zone where they’re readily accessible to plants while helping to eliminate runoff and volatilization. Nitrogen is further protected with a stabilizer added to the fertilizer to prevent loss to groundwater. This strip-till strategy puts the right source of nutrients in the right place resulting in better crop yields. Rhodes has measured an 18.6-bushel per acre advantage to the system compared to standard no-till production.

Timing is also important. Using his strip-till rig, Rhodes split-applies fertilizer on his corn ground, placing the nutrients about four inches beneath surface just prior to when the crop approaches its peak nutrient demand.

Nutrient application at Rhodes’ Chestnut Manor Farms is site-specific, guided by GPS-linked soil maps that enable Rhodes to match the right fertilizer and seeding rates to reflect the potential of specific productivity environments. GPS guidance systems utilizing RTK provide pinpoint accuracy for fertilizer, chemical and seed placement.

Tissue sampling during the growing season is used to assess plant nutrition status at each stage of development so that Rhodes can further fine-tune fertilizer applications. In addition to high-tech techniques for managing nutrients, the Rhodes plants forage oilseed radishes as a cover crop to retain nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium through the winter, reduce soil compaction and prevent erosion. Buffer strips and waterways are also relied on to help protect soil and water.

Sources:  BASF, Dow AgroSciences, and The Fertilizer Institute

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