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Plan Ahead to Outsmart the Weed Seed Bank

January 21, 2020
A tractor spraying herbicide onto a soybean field.

Consistent and comprehensive weed management was hard to come by in 2019, as wet weather caused ag herbicide application delays during the spring and early summer. We should be prepared this year, as last season’s weed management challenges will likely have lingering effects in the spring.

Particularly in some areas of the Midwest and South, record-breaking rain totals delayed and prevented herbicide applications. The compacted season resulted in many being unable to apply preemergent herbicides at all, while post-emergent treatments were often delayed.

Since there were more escapes and weeds going to seed in 2019, we expect an increased weed seed bank for 2020. This means heavier weed pressure is likely and will require an effective spring burndown, as well as sound agronomic practices, such as tillage or cover crops, to avoid early-season competition with crops.

A larger seed bank also increases the risk of herbicide resistance spread, which is already a major challenge in many areas. To see how resistance has affected the United States in the last 50 years, view our interactive map.

A burndown may feel like an extra step before getting seed in the ground, but managing weeds prior to planting keeps them from interfering with the planting process. A successful burndown will also prevent weeds from stealing valuable soil moisture and nutrients from young crops early in the season when it’s critical that plants establish strong roots.

Growers are likely to encounter early-emerging weeds, including horseweed (marestail), giant ragweed, lambsquarters and winter annual grass, and they should be prepared with a strong herbicide program that includes a broadleaf herbicide.

For soybeans, a fast burndown of Gramoxone® SL 3.0 herbicide can be followed by a strong preemergent herbicide, such as Boundary® 6.5 EC, BroadAxe® XC or Prefix® herbicides. Tavium® Plus VaporGrip® Technology herbicide is an effective early post-emergent option in dicamba-tolerant soybeans for controlling a broad spectrum of tough broadleaf and grass weeds, and helping with weed resistance management. Tavium is the market’s first and only premix dicamba herbicide that provides both contact and residual control of weeds.

For corn, Acuron® herbicide plus Gramoxone SL 3.0 provides fast burndown plus the residual power of Acuron, all in one pass. This strong early-season performance adds up, with Acuron delivering 5 to 15 more bushels an acre when used preemergence at full label rates by controlling the tough weeds that other products miss*. Acuron has unmatched application flexibility, from 28 days preplant up to 12-inch corn.

See for yourself by calculating how much more revenue you could be making with Acuron.

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*Yield advantage range based on 2016 Syngenta and University trials comparing Acuron to Corvus®, Resicore®, SureStart® II and Verdict®. For more information on Acuron versus an individual product, ask your Syngenta representative.