Soybean South

 - PRODUCTION -

Mapping Out
Spring Herbicides


Resistance, residual, rotation, rewards = increased ROI.
The above represent four keys to a strong spring herbicide program.


Most farmers have started considering their spring herbicide program – planning out the best products to meet their individual needs. But this year, many farmers are keeping an eye on commodity prices and other input costs when determining their herbicide strategy.

“For a number of reasons, we believe this year farmers have to be more aware than ever about the herbicide program they are putting on their fields,” says Jamie Nielson, Valent marketing manager. “So we’re encouraging farmers to think about the four ‘Rs of spring herbicide management: resistance, residual, rotation and rewards – resulting in a higher return on growers’ investments.”

With the confirmed spread of resistant Palmer amaranth across the South, experts agree that no farmer can risk a season without resistance management being central to their herbicide strategy.

“For several years now we’ve been battling resistant marestail, but now we have found roughly 30 counties across the Mid-South with confirmed resistant Palmer,” says Larry Steckel, University of Tennessee weed scientist. “Southern soybean farmers have a serious resistance problem to contend with this year. I think 2009 could be a very challenging weed season for many if they don’t have a strategy in place, including a burndown and a residual.”

Incorporate a residual
Steckel recommends starting the season clean with a glyphosate and dicamba burndown and incorporating a residual material like Valor, Sencor or Prefix to control tough-er weeds. In some cases, he is recommending going out a bit earlier with the residual, but making sure it is applied at least 14 to 21 days before planting. Regardless of timing, Steckel says it is important to use the residual to introduce its different mode of action against the resistant weeds.

“No question, our biggest recommendation to farmers this season is pre-emerge herbicides,” says Floyd Halterman, dealer at Agriliance in west Tennessee. “With prices the way they are, and some of the tough weed pressure we’ve been dealing with, you can’t afford not to start out the season right, and that means starting with a pre-emerge herbicide and preferably one with strong residual control like Valor or Prefix.”

Halterman says most of his customers are embracing the idea of this programmed approach to weed control, incorporating a pre-emerge, but also realizing the importance of residual activity throughout the season.

Rotation flexibility
In 2008, many of Halterman’s customers were flooded well into the planting season.

“We just couldn’t get in to plant anything on time, which caused some people to have to shift their crop plans at the last minute to still make a crop for the year,” Halterman notes.

Although farmers may have a clear cut crop rotation plan in the South where a variety of crops may be planted, many of them may be watching other input costs like fertilizer prices before determining what to plant. Nielson encourages growers to use a product like Valor that provides the flexibility to plant virtually any crop after application.

Finally, many farmers can receive additional rewards when using residual solutions in 2009.

Monsanto teamed up with Valent on the Start Clean, Stay Clean Assurance Plan for Roundup Ready soybeans. Farmers who use Valor, Valor XLT, Gangster or Intrro herbicides followed by Roundup WeatherMAX at the proper timing can receive up to $13 per acre if their field requires a second in-crop treatment in a season or up to $5.50 per acre for farmers following Valor, Valor XLT, Gangster or Intrro with Roundup PowerMAX.

By considering a few key elements – residual, resistance management, rotation and risk protection – farmers can start 2009 with a sound herbicide strategy in place geared to protect their yield and ultimately, their profit potential.

Archer-Malmo, which represents Valent, contributed information for this article.