New weed control options, which include both veteran and new active ingredients, cleared major milestones on the road to commercialization in 2014. Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto and Syngenta have new herbicides available (or soon to be available) to growers to help combat resistant weeds in 2015.
“Although this was my first year planting drought-tolerant corn, it is a thing of the future,” says Mark Meyer, Nehawka, Neb. “As stewards of the land, farmers need to think long term about how we use water. Drought tolerance and water optimization, hopefully, will allow us to produce the same amount or more grain with less water.”
Entomologists say it’s hard to predict insect challenges before a new season. But certain pests are perennial problems that require proactive tactics to limit their impact on yield. Two new tools for farmers in 2014 will help manage the productivity threats from corn rootworms (CRW) and from soybean aphids, beetles and stink bugs.
Corn and soybean farmers test-drove several new herbicides over the rugged proving ground of the 2013 growing season. The new active ingredient pyroxasulfone appears in three new products: Zidua, Anthem and Fierce.
More adverse spring weather and the northern spread of herbicide-resistant marestail find more reduced-tillage farmers considering fall residual herbicide applications. “Fall applications have risen dramatically in the last few years and will continue to grow,” says Regan Wear, CHS agronomy manager in Shipman, Ill. “Erratic, wet, cold springs have narrowed the planting window and fueled interest in fall residual herbicide applications because they really sharpen up timing the following spring.”
Criminal investigators often think like outlaws in order to catch them. Perhaps farmers should apply that strategy to stop the No. 1 soybean yield thief? Yes, soybean cyst nematode (SCN), a nearly microscopic organism, gets away with billions of soybean profit dollars each year. Thinking like a nematode can help arrest them, too.
A proven method for understanding opponents is to put yourself in their shoes and see the world as they see it – in this case, to think like a weed. What do weeds need to thrive? What plant characteristics and cultural practices are beneficial to herbicide-resistant weeds? What management tactics have proven effective against them?
New herbicide offerings for 2013 will allow growers to follow the resistance management advice of leading weed scientists – always use a soil-applied pre-emergence herbicide and employ multiple sites of herbicide activity. See mode of action chart (pdf).
If corn breeders wanted to put their drought-tolerant hybrids to the acid test, 2012 was the year to do it. The record-breaking drought, coupled with extreme heat, presented a worst-case scenario for new drought-tolerant, water-optimized products from DuPont Pioneer, Monsanto and Syngenta. All three have more drought-tolerant hybrids available for 2013.