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Are You Killing Weeds or Profit?

This time of year, growers will be starting to take a hard look at what herbicide programs they are going to use in 2017. Aggregated data can be a valuable tool to look at how different herbicides can possibly affect your yields. Many variables factor into overall yields; fertility, soil types, population, etc. Herbicides play an important role in yields and bring to light the old rule ‘a clean field is a high yielding field’. The optimal choice is to choose a herbicide that will help to achieve a clean field, without adding unnecessary stress to the crop.

We want to make sure we are clear that we are not endorsing one herbicide program over another, as they are all valuable tools if used at the right time and for the right weed spectrums. With that being said, some herbicide families appear to affect yield less than others. In some cases, a particular herbicide may need to be used in order to control the weeds. Even if this herbicide may put extra stress on your crop, the increase of weeds could affect your yield more than the potential extra stress of a herbicide.

If you look at the charts below you will see information on pre-emerge, early post-emerge, and post emerge herbicides. We want to stress that we are not validating the use of one program over the other; we are looking at this from strictly a yield perspective over numerous acres throughout 2016. We chose to group the information by modes of action in an effort to simplify the data. There are so many generic products hitting the market that can easily be confused with new names of old products, we wanted to streamline the information to look at solely the yield side of things.

As you can see in the above charts, there are some significant differences in yield by the different mode of action groups. The old saying that ‘you never want your crop to have a "bad day”’ holds very true, especially in today's commodities marketplace. Please remember, we are only looking at a large data set comparing different modes of action to yield. There can be very specific reasons for using some of the above herbicide programs for problem weeds alone, or in combinations with others. Always read and follow the label for each product; in some cases yields can be reduced greatly by going off label.

When choosing a herbicide program you need to consider a variety of information. Below are a few key things to keep in mind (but this by no means completes the list):

A. Weed Spectrum

B. Soil types and organic matter levels.

C. Soil PH levels and what restrictions may apply.

D. Application rates by crop, soil type, OM, CEC, etc.

E. Growth stage restrictions

F. Rotational crop restrictions

G. Modes/Sites of Action

- Are you rotating modes of action to reduce weed resistance?

H. Surfactants needed

I. Tank mix partners if needed

One other question you should ask yourself, above all the rest, is am I using the least stressful option for my crop?

Have a great winter planning season and a safe spring!

Harvest Max Associates

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