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Option B

Option B
Steve Yoch, Agronomy Sales, Plainview
yoch@allamericancoop.com (507) 951-8251

As I drive by fields this time of the year and look at final weed control at harvest, I think back on various weed control options that were used on those fields.  Some of you are at “Option B”; some are further along in the alphabet, maybe at “M” or “T”; depending on weed species and personal response to weed resistance management.  With growers that are still on “A”, Roundup, those fields are not the fields of years past.  More weeds are present at harvest.  The advancement and adaptation of Waterhemp and Giant Ragweed, have forced us to move to other herbicides and application timings.

What has happened?  Weeds have not become smart, they have adapted to our predictable annual assault on trying to make them extinct.  Too many times we don’t want to fix what isn’t broken, and that has caused the weed shifts and escapes.   However, we still have time to be proactive and develop our future approach to weed management.

Identify the problem-

The problem is obviously the weed, but it is more complex than that.  The questioned that should be asked is Why is the weed there?   Was it resistant to the herbicide I used?  Was it emerged when I sprayed my post emerge herbicide? Was I within labeled application rates and weed size? Did I select the correct spray nozzle and use the correct gallons per acre? Should I have added a residual herbicide instead of relying on contact only? Should I have used a higher rate of contact or residual? Did I use the appropriate recommended adjuvants?  Or is it simply, I didn’t feel the need to make the investment.

Develop a battle plan-

This is where not one size fits all. We do not all have the same rotations, weed densities, weed species, tolerance of herbicides within those species,  tillage practices, or have the same logistical options to carry thru with a plan. What we do have in common, is that we all have access to the same herbicides and surfactants.  We need to develop a program that works with your individual farming practices and weed types.

Carry thru-

We need to make it happen.  This may require us to do things different in the spring then what we have been accustomed to.  It might mean spraying different products, with different timing, on various fields to fit better with logistics.  Perhaps hiring part of your spraying while logistics don’t allow you to spray your own, can be part of the solution.  Maybe parking the bean planter for a day to allow you to catch up spraying your pre-emerge on soybeans can be part of the plan. 

Weed control in 2017 and beyond will become more complex, but not impossible.  The “easy spraying” of the past is over, but we can have clean fields next year.  We just need to do things differently.  We also need to do it responsibly to preserve the effectiveness of our present herbicide options and modes of action.  In this tough economic time in production agriculture, the last thing we want to do is spend more money on herbicide.  However, the most expensive weed control program is the one that doesn’t work.

Visit with your Progressive Ag Center Agronomist.  Ask for options that will work in your individual farming operation.  It will be time well spent.  Have a safe and productive harvest, and as always, thank you for your business!

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