Maximizing weed control amidst supply challenges

By Luke Schulte, Beck’s Hybrids

As harvest wraps up, it’s natural to want to take some time to recoup before jumping immediately into decision-making mode for the coming season. However, due to the uncertain availability of several post-emergence herbicides, an increased sense of urgency may be warranted to ensure your supply and formulate a plan to keep your soybean acres weed-free in 2022.

Over the last 18 months, many supply challenges have surfaced across multiple industries. The agricultural industry is currently facing many potential challenges heading into the 2022 planting season. While some herbicide shortages may be speculative, others appear more certain. Due to their broad-spectrum activity, glyphosate and glufosinate-containing (Liberty) herbicides are two of the most widely used herbicides on the market. These reasons, amongst other factors, have led to supply concerns with these herbicides as we look ahead to 2022.

Making the most of the glyphosate and glufosinate supply

Fall Applications (weather permitting)

Where possible, avoid using glyphosate this fall. Glyphosate is still necessary to maximize control of dandelions and “winter grasses” (poa annua bluegrass, downy brome, etc.). However, the use of a 2,4-D + dicamba pre-mix (Brash and Weedmaster) + metribuzin + COC is an option that will provide both winter annual burndown and some residual activity. As temperatures decline, so does dicamba efficacy.  In the absence of glyphosate, be sure to maintain 0.5 active ingredient per acre(a.i./A). dicamba within the tank mix.

Spring burndown and residuals

Both Enlist and dicamba-containing herbicides will provide marestail burndown. However, dicamba-containing (Engenia and XtendiMax) herbicides will offer improved consistency and efficacy. If glyphosate is a component within the burndown application, this allows for greater rate flexibility, thus reducing pressure on supply.

Dicamba-containing herbicides like Engenia and XtendiMax also have significantly more soil activity than Enlist herbicides/2,4-D. This short-term residual, combined with a pre-emerge residual herbicide, reduces the pressure on the post-emergence program- which often includes glyphosate, Liberty, or both. 

Post-emergence options

Both glyphosate and Liberty are considered broad-spectrum herbicides. However, glyphosate resistance, herbicide tolerances, and product weaknesses exist within all herbicides.  

For obvious reasons, increasing the number of effective sites of action (SOAs) is best for sustainability. Enlist One + Liberty offers two effective SOAs to account for glyphosate-resistant (GR) weeds. But what if you can’t secure enough Liberty? The addition of Liberty over glyphosate will likely increase the overall cost per acre. 

Enlist One + glyphosate will be highly effective on most annual weeds and may be more economical than Enlist One + Liberty. However, this tank-mix option only offers one effective SOA for GR weeds. While Enlist One + glyphosate will be effective on ragweed species (giant and common), it will not be as effective as Enlist One + Liberty for both waterhemp and marestail control.      

The pandemic has impacted many industries, including agriculture. Take the time now to evaluate which soybean technology suits both your weed spectrum and weed management plans and begin securing your herbicide needs as soon as possible to alleviate any stresses come spring!   

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