Keep Fields Clean With Proactive Steps, Innovative Herbicides

After the weather challenges of the 2019 growing season, elevated weed pressure is likely. These early-season steps can help keep fields clean in 2020.
Keep Fields Clean With Proactive Steps, Innovative Herbicides Innovative Herbicides
Left to right: Whitney Venable, sales representative for Syngenta, speaks with growers Kyle and Abbi Hawkins about 2020 weed management on their farm in Bogard, Missouri.
Sometimes it seems like you just can’t catch a break in farming. For grower Kyle Hawkins, the recent challenges started in the fall of 2018, when wet conditions made it too difficult to work the ground. After knifing in anhydrous ammonia on those acres in April, Hawkins planned to work the ground before planting corn.
After the weather challenges of 2019, @SyngentaUS says taking steps early can help keep #fields clean in 2020.

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Then Mother Nature complicated those plans with more rain. “It was a heck of a year,” says Hawkins, who farms near Bogard, Missouri, where he and his father, Gary, grow 7,000 acres of corn and soybeans. “Nothing worked right.”

All this created more challenges with troublesome weeds in the area, including marestail, waterhemp, giant ragweed and morningglory.

Even if farmers’ fields were clean at the end of the 2019 growing season, the yield damage may have already been done, says Dean Grossnickle, an Iowa-based agronomic service representative for Syngenta. “What 2019 taught us is that it can be wise to park the planter for a bit when it’s time to focus on weed control,” he adds. “We need to change our habits when it comes to weed management.”

“I’m a believer in Acuron because I’ve seen how well it works. Our fields are cleaner than a pin, and there’s no crop damage.”

Kyle Hawkins
Bogard, Missouri, Grower
Develop a Weed Control Plan for 2020

The days of simple, one-pass weed control with one active ingredient are long gone. “Recent history has taught us there’s no easy button when it comes to weed control,” says Brett Craigmyle, a Missouri-based agronomic service representative at Syngenta, who notes that waterhemp can pose big challenges in his area. “It’s important to have a game plan for weed control in 2020.”

Effective weed management means starting strong and including long-lasting residual control. “A ton of weeds went to seed in 2019, so you’ll need a preemergent herbicide more than ever this spring,” Craigmyle says. “Also, look for multiple sites of action with post-emergent products to help control your driver weeds.”

Syngenta offers a wide variety of options, including Acuron® herbicide for corn and Tavium® Plus VaporGrip® Technology herbicide for soybeans and cotton. These proven products may lead to a higher return on investment potential, while fitting into an effective resistance management program.

Acuron Delivers in Corn

Acuron controls more than 70 grass and broadleaf weeds for clean fields, all season long. It delivers 5 to 15 bushels more yield per acre than other herbicides, based on 2016 Syngenta and university trials that compared Acuron with Corvus®, Resicore®, SureStart® II and Verdict® applied preemergence at full label rates.*

With four active ingredients (bicyclopyrone, mesotrione, S-metolachlor and atrazine), Acuron unlocks more yield potential than any other corn herbicide because it controls tough weeds other products are missing.

“Getting an extra 5 to 15 bushels an acre with Acuron is huge,” Craigmyle says. “Acuron also provides excellent crop safety as both a preemergent and post-emergent herbicide and can handle a variety of environmental conditions, including the wet weather our area experienced in 2019.”

Acuron offers application flexibility from 28 days preplant, including burndown, up to 12-inch corn. There’s no comparison between a product like Acuron and generic products, Grossnickle adds. “If you cut corners with weed control, you may give up effectiveness and flexibility,” he says. “I’ve seen guys try to save $30 an acre, but end up spending $50 to $60 an acre because their generic weed control didn’t work. Using a herbicide like Acuron has the potential to provide a great return on investment for growers because of its highly effective, dependable weed control and the likelihood of increased yields that may result.”

Hawkins, a fourth-generation Missouri farmer, agrees. His family started incorporating Acuron into their weed control program a few years ago. “I’m a believer in Acuron because I’ve seen how well it works,” he says. “Our fields are cleaner than a pin, and there’s no crop damage.”

The benefits of choosing Syngenta crop protection products extend beyond weed control, Hawkins adds. “Crop safety is important, and there’s no damage to set the crop back,” he says. “Syngenta also has a great team of people who stand behind their products.”

It was a much tougher situation for one of Hawkins’ acquaintances who didn’t use Acuron, opting instead for a herbicide that didn’t offer the same level of residual control. “With all the rain, the corn got too tall before he could spray, and the weeds got away from him,” Hawkins says. “There are so many things you can’t control in farming, so why not maximize things you can control, like weed control? Then you’ve got one less thing to worry about.”

Tavium Plus VaporGrip Technology Helps Boost Yields in Soybeans

Grower Aaron Cross, whose family grows wheat, corn, soybeans and milo and raises cattle near Lewis, Kansas, feels the same way about weed control in soybeans. He uses Tavium Plus VaporGrip Technology herbicide, the market’s first dicamba premix. It manages key broadleaf and grass weeds in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend® Soybeans and Bollgard II® XtendFlex® Cotton.

“You’ve got to have bushels to sell to make money,” says Cross, who estimates a 10-bushel-per-acre yield advantage on the acres where he used Tavium in 2019. “I look at effective weed control as an investment rather than a cost.”

In soybeans, effective weed control can be achieved with preemergent herbicides like Boundary® 6.5 EC, BroadAxe® XC or Prefix® herbicides, followed by an early post-emergence Tavium application made to weeds less than 4 inches tall. Tavium manages driver weeds in soybeans, such as ragweed, marestail, Palmer amaranth and waterhemp. It offers built-in resistance management, convenience as a premix and flexible application from preplant through early post-emergence.

“After a tough growing season like 2019, you want weed control you can count on,” says Pete Eure, technical product lead for soybean herbicides at Syngenta. “We’re seeing three weeks’ longer weed control with Tavium, compared with other dicamba products.”

Lessons Learned in 2019

Many farmers were frustrated with the weather and disappointed by commodity prices in 2019, says Craig Austin, Ph.D., a Pennsylvania-based agronomic service representative for Syngenta. “While it can be tempting to cut corners with weed control in times like these, it’s not worth the risk,” he says. “You need to be proactive to keep your fields clean.” 

Grossnickle agrees that it doesn’t pay to put weed control on the back burner. “With the wet conditions we had last spring, a lot of farmers were so focused on getting the crops planted that they figured they’d worry about weed control later, especially with soybeans,” he says. “Early-season weed competition robbed a lot of yield potential, though, and there were a lot of weed escapes.”

Proven weed control solutions from Syngenta offer more than peace of mind. They also make financial sense, Hawkins says. “If you skimp on weed control today, there’s more to think about than how much yield you’re losing this year. Investing in effective weed control now pays off in the long run.”

Cross agrees and says, “I’m way ahead of this year’s weed seed bank because of my weed control last year.”

*Acuron yield advantage range based on 2016 Syngenta and university trials comparing Acuron with Corvus, Resicore, SureStart II and Verdict.

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