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Preparing for Corn and Soybean Planting

Soybeans in the fieldDepending on the local geography and weather, corn and soybean fields often require similar preparations for effective weed control. Because these unwanted plants directly reduce yields and profits by hindering harvest operations and harboring insects and diseases, timeliness of weed control treatment is essential. The best plan to maximize yields and control weeds is to start with a clean field.

Pre-Season Burndown and In-Season Weed Control

To start with a clean slate and to keep weeds from strangling out soybeans and corn later in the season, growers often use burndown chemistries, such as glyphosate, before planting their crop. Particularly with soybeans, however, if growers use glyphosate for a burndown, they'll likely need to use it a second time later in the season to treat resistant weeds.

To prevent weed resistance from glyphosate applications, Monsanto has collaborated with other companies in the industry, combining products with different modes of action. These partnerships compensate partnering growers on a per-acre basis for using these alternate chemistries that complement glyphosate for overall weed control.

For in-season weed control, growers have an immense arsenal of chemistry available for soybeans and almost as many for corn. When the two crops are rotated together, modes of action that combat unwanted plants are available for the control of almost every weed.

Fall Weed Control

Rather than applying all chemistry in the spring, some tank-mix products can be used effectively in the fall to provide residual weed control for annual broadleaf weeds such as Leadoff by DuPont and Princep by Syngenta. This technique works for ragweeds, lambsquarters, mustard species, marestail, prickly lettuce and dandelion, as well as other broadleaf weeds. These tank-mix products also help control or suppress perennial broadleaf weeds and legume sods like alfalfa and clover.

Resistant Weeds

Because some weeds have developed resistance, the best approach is to alternate or mix different modes of action with complementary products to combat the problem and prevent future resistance. The three weeds most likely to be resistant are pigweed, marestail and common ragweed. Pigweed, which produces a significant quantity of seeds, is competitive enough to reduce both corn and soybean yields.

Corn and rye grass have similarly shaped leaves, so product chemistries affect them in much the same way. Therefore, it is easier to treat grass weeds in a broad-leaf crop, like soybeans. Pigweed, with its broader leaves, poses a greater threat to soybeans rather than corn.

Southern States professionals are available to recommend the chemistry best-suited for weed control in a particular geography.

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