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Adopt a Zero-Tolerance Policy for Weed Management

September 15, 2020
This agronomic image shows young corn

Corn yield potential is at its peak the moment you plant your seed. After that, environmental stressors, like early-season weed pressure, slowly reduce each plant’s potential. Even a few weeds present at emergence permanently reduce yield potential, making it important to adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward tough weeds. That means planting into clean, weed-free fields and maintaining them through harvest.

Harmful Effects of Early-Season Weed Competition

Aaron Hager, Ph.D, an associate professor of extension weed science at the University of Illinois, says the most competitive weed is not the one that arrives 4 weeks after the corn crop comes up, but the one that emerges with corn and steals moisture, nutrients and space. Corn can experience yield loss due to weed competition when weeds are less than 2” tall.

Compared to weed-free corn seedlings, corn plants grown in weedy conditions demonstrated the following characteristics1:

  • 17% taller
  • 45% greater leaf area
  • 40% more dry leaf weight
  • 12% higher top growth relative to root growth

It may seem that a plant that is taller and fuller is stronger, healthier and higher yielding, but this is not the case. Upward growth comes at the expense of root development. A strong root system is essential for corn plant development throughout its lifecycle, and optimum yield is compromised because of the energy shift to produce shoots instead of roots. A smaller root system struggles to support the plant and also isn’t developed enough to respond in unfavorable growing conditions, such as water stress.

herbicide comparison chart

Find 5-15 More Bushels an Acre

The best way to avoid irreversible yield loss caused by corn’s response to weeds is by controlling them before they emerge with a strong residual herbicide, such as Acuron® herbicide. Clean fields lead to higher yield potential, and only Acuron contains the active ingredient bicyclopyrone, which helps Acuron control tough weeds that other products miss. When used preemergence at full label rates, the powerful combo of effective weed control, longest-lasting residual and proven crop safety enables Acuron to deliver more than 5-15 more bushels an acre than any other herbicide, as shown in this herbicide comparison chart below.*

Any weed competition at emergence can fundamentally alter the way corn grows and hurt your bottom line, so plan ahead for a strong weed management program in 2021. Calculate the extra revenue potential you could find next season with Acuron.

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1 Based on shade-avoidance research published in 2010 by Dr. Clarence Swanton, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

*Acuron yield advantage range based on 2016 Syngenta and university replicated trials comparing Acuron to Corvus®, Resicore®, SureStart® II and Verdict® applied preemergence and at full labeled rates. For more information on Acuron versus an individual product, ask your Syngenta representative.

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