Syngenta, university researcher advocate holistic approach to maximize yield potential and minimize future obstacles
−− The "10 Commandments" of weed management provide a comprehensive framework for planning
Feb. 18, 2021
For every grower, maximizing yield to increase potential return on investment is the ultimate goal. As farmers know, there are many factors affecting their yields that require constant monitoring and action throughout the year. Syngenta sat down with Stevan Knezevic, Ph.D., weed management specialist at the University of Nebraska, to discuss his “10 Commandments” of weed management that growers can reference to make sure all their bases are covered this coming season.
According to Knezevic, his "10 Commandments" are as follows:
-Commandment 1: Know your weeds and understand their lifecycles and biologies. This is the foundation for all of the commandments. "A full understanding of the weeds in your region and how they may interact with your crops is an important step in managing an efficient and successful operation," said Knezevic.
-Commandment 2: Rotate your crops. "Crop rotation is a key component in an effective weed resistance management strategy," said Mark Kitt, corn herbicide technical product lead for Syngenta. "It will extend the range of available herbicides and agronomic practices."
-Commandment 3: Rotate your herbicide sites of action. "By having extra sites of action, you are widening the spectrum of weed control," said Knezevic.
-Commandment 4: Use premixes with multiple effective sites of action. "Within the Syngenta portfolio, Acuron® corn herbicide is a great example," said Kitt. "It provides protection through its four active ingredients, including the Syngenta-exclusive bicyclopyrone, and three effective sites of action." This formulation provides powerful weed management that leads to higher yield potential — 5 to 15 more bushels an acre than any other corn herbicide.
-Commandment 5: Use full labeled rates of herbicides. "Full label rates will provide a full length of residual activity that should cover the critical period of weed control," said Knezevic. "By reducing the label rate, you’re in danger of not killing the weed, but only crippling it. A surviving weed that is growing after a herbicide application has a chance to potentially produce herbicide-resistant offspring."
-Commandment 6: Scout your fields. "Go out and scout those fields," says Knezevic. "Look for survivors, and look for regrowth because that regrowth can most likely carry a resistance gene, so you will have problems next year."
-Commandment 7: Apply post-emergent applications, ideally before new weed growth is discovered. Overlapping residuals can help prevent these weed escapes. "Halex® GT herbicide is the perfect product to use post-emergence to provide that overlapping residual and post-emergence management when applied in a system where a foundation rate of a preemergence herbicide is used," Kitt said.
-Commandment 8: Use cultural practices to manage weeds, and don’t overlook your field borders. "This is where employing sound agronomic practices will prove to be especially beneficial, including tillage and crop rotation," said Knezevic. "Any uncontrolled weeds will produce seeds. If you don’t control them well and let them drop seeds, you’re going to fight them for at least three to five more years into the future."
-Commandment 9: Use clean equipment, especially during harvest, to manage weed seed. "Over the last 10 years or so, we have seen a rapid spread of glyphosate-resistant waterhemp and Palmer amaranth, which were not spread by weeds, animals or wind. They were spread by combines during harvest," cautioned Knezevic.
-Commandment 10: Know the cost of poor weed management. "The culmination of the commandments is that in managing cost versus yield, understand that it is much more expensive if you spend less money and do not kill the weeds," concluded Knezevic. "A general rule of thumb is that for every stage of delayed weed control, there is a 2% loss of potential yield."
Collaborating with leading university researchers and sharing information are ways Syngenta works to help local agronomists and their growers combat the unique weed pressure they face each season. "It all starts with solid agronomics," Kitt said. "We want to provide our retailer partners and growers with the knowledge and tools they need to effectively manage their top weed pressures so they can maximize their yield potential next season and for many seasons to come."
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