Successful in-season weed control begins with scouting weeds at harvest
St. Louis, MO — Every soybean grower loves to see a clean field in mid-July. According to many industry experts the best way to make that happen is to start scouting at harvest the prior year.
While harvest scouting doesn’t replace what you do in May and June, this evaluation of your current weed management program should be the start of your 2012 plan.
According to Dr. Aaron Hager, associate professor of weed science at the University of Illinois, understanding your challenges from the current year may allow you to make adjustments for more effective weed control for the coming year.
Hager encourages growers to get out and walk fields just after harvest, making notes of not just what weeds are present, but their intensity and location within the field. This information will help, not just with long-term weed management planning, but also with growers’ decisions whether or not to use a fall herbicide application.
Industry experts in Iowa and Indiana are in agreement with Hager on the importance of harvest scouting.
“By scouting at harvest for weed escapes you can go into winter with a specific weed management target for the coming year and have time to develop a plan to reach that target,” says Dr. Bill Johnson, professor of weed science at Purdue University.
While scouting weeds at harvest does allow growers to evaluate their efforts from the previous year, it also keeps growers thinking ahead. This is all part of the effort by extension experts to encourage growers to be more proactive in planning weed control programs, especially when dealing with herbicide-resistant weed species – and part of being proactive starts with scouting at harvest.
Dr. Mike Owen, extension weed specialist and professor of agronomy at Iowa State University, believes that growers need to look at their weed management activities with a five-year goal in mind.
“Herbicide weed management, of all weeds not just herbicide-resistant varieties, needs to be redundant, with an eye on five years down the road,” says Dr. Owen. “Weed scouting, especially at harvest, should be an ongoing process for growers to remain proactive in their weed control efforts.”
Hager, Johnson and Owen all agree that growers who were considering fall herbicide applications should consider harvest scouting mandatory since it is at harvest growers see escapes and observe the emergence of winter annual species. Growers should keep in mind their locations, field conditions and product labeling when considering a fall application and make sure it is part of an overall weed control plan.
Weed resistance is a growing problem. Regardless of where a farm is located or what weed control products are used, a single herbicide mode-of-action is simply no longer adequate to protect yields and long-term profitability. Working with University extension specialists, herbicide companies, and farmers, Monsanto developed the Roundup Ready PLUS™ Weed Management Platform. Roundup Ready PLUS serves as a resource for recommendations on weed management in Roundup Ready crops backed by third-party endorsements, and offers incentives to farmers for using multiple modes of action in their weed control systems. Soybean farmers can receive up to $10 per acre in incentives under the 2012 platform. Corn farmers are eligible for separate incentives.
Growers who are looking for more information or assistance in developing long-term weed management plans are encouraged to contact their local extension expert. Additionally, there are online tools such as www.roundupreadyplus.com which has agronomic and product information designed to help growers develop a comprehensive weed management program.