By: Jeff Ellis, Market Development Specialist, Missouri, Corteva Agriscience
As harvest winds down across the Midwest, the challenges of the 2019 season remain. A delayed harvest in 2018 rolled into a rainy spring, which led to difficulties with weeds and nutrient management. Weather-related setbacks were relentless throughout the season, but these hardships have taught us important lessons to carry into 2020.
The most important of those lessons is that it is critical for you and your customers to plan for each season but also be ready to adjust as conditions change. Be prepared for the worst, hope for the best and always be on your toes.
Challenging Winter Weeds
The wet fall and spring weather created perfect conditions for large and aggressive winter weeds to show up in fields across the Midwest.
We saw a lot of troublesome weeds, such as henbit and marestail. These are winter annuals that germinate in fall and, because a lot of farmers were unable to spray herbicides in fall 2018, those weeds were given free rein during the winter and into the spring.
Start Now to Control Weeds in 2020
Given what we know about winter annual weeds, I recommend fall herbicide applications, if weather permits. This helps prevent weeds from taking over fields during the winter.
If left untreated, henbit, for example, can grow into a thick, mat-like ground covering. That covering creates a soil barrier and decreases the soil’s ability to properly dry. This also impedes soil-to-seed contact during spring planting.
Spring into Action
Regardless of whether you and your customers can complete a fall herbicide application, you’ll want to get a jump on your herbicide program in spring 2020. The sooner you can start controlling weeds, the better.
When it comes to a herbicide program for corn, I recommend starting with a preemergence herbicide at planting to eliminate early-season weed competition and maximize corn yields.
An effective program approach from Corteva Agriscience consists of applying SureStart® II herbicide or FulTime® herbicide preemergence, followed by Resicore® herbicide or DuPont™ Realm® Q herbicide postemergence. This provides multiple modes of action to control the toughest weeds, including herbicide-resistant species such as Palmer amaranth and waterhemp.
I also recommend this program because of the application flexibility. If the weather is uncooperative again in 2020, the wide application window of this program gives you more time to spray customers’ fields. Time is money, and this approach helps save both.
Visit our Corn Herbicides website to find labels of the herbicides mentioned in this article and to find other product recommendations to share with your customers.
About the author: Jeff Ellis is a Market Development Specialist for Corteva Agriscience, based outside of Kansas City, Missouri. Jeff worked as a field research scientist for Dow AgroSciences for 10 years. He has a doctorate in agronomy and crop science from Louisiana State University.