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Taking Tips From 2023 Into 2024

November 10, 2023
A weed-free corn field during early season

A weed-free corn field during early season

With harvest over in the western Midwest, it’s time to look back at the year and see what we can learn and take with us into 2024. This year, our main takeaway is that the weather is predictably unpredictable. While overall this year’s harvest seemed to be about average, there is a lot of variation largely due to the weather.

Moisture was a big concern for many – drought was a common problem this year, and when rain did come, it did not always come at the optimal time. Varying temperatures contributed as well. This affected pest pressures adding further complications – some saw different diseases, added weed pressure or unexpected insects. It was another challenging year, so what can we do to prepare for 2024 with all of this in mind?

Control the controllables by planning ahead

Since the weather is as uncontrollable as ever, we need to focus our attention on what we can control. What can you do on your operation between now and planting to give yourself the best opportunity in 2024?

Make a plan for the year now and stick to it. Get out early and talk to your retailer or representative to lock in the products you’ll need. We strongly recommend that one of those is a fungicide, such as Trivapro® or Miravis® Neo. Not only do these provide excellent disease control, they also mitigate stress which is key when the weather presents significant stress.

Ensure your planting dates and application dates are on your calendar, including a preemergence herbicide application and a post emergence application 21 to 28 days later with a strong residual and multiple modes of action. Weeds continue to be difficult to control, and a 2-pass program will help ensure your crop is the first plant to emerge and can form a crop canopy to keep late emerging weeds at bay. Starting the season with good tillage or a fall/spring burndown can also help ease those pressures.

Finally, prep your application equipment based on your plan – you want to ensure the equipment is optimized with the right volume of the right spray pattern and the right droplet size. By doing all of this, you can put your best foot forward in 2024 and set yourself up for great potential success.

Top pest concerns for 2024

In 2024 we expect to see a lot of familiar pest concerns. During harvest, you may have noticed downed corn. Corn rootworm is likely the culprit and will probably be our biggest insect concern this year. A soil-applied insecticide like Force® Evo or a below ground trait can help control this pest. If you grow soybeans, you may have seen some spider mites or aphids this year, but your retailer should have strong recommendations for handling these pests.

While tar spot has been less of an issue these last couple of years, it has been spreading and can still present significant issues in the right weather. If you identified it in your field this year, it is likely to return, so having a fungicide in your plan will be key to preventing its spread.

Waterhemp and Palmer amaranth are the 2 weeds on everyone’s minds. States like SD have seen more kochia moving further east this year, and it could become more of an issue next year. Kochia emerges early, so that preemergence application will help control it, while waterhemp and Palmer amaranth tend to emerge later. Overlapping residuals and multiple modes of action will be required to stay ahead of these weeds.

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All photos are either the property of Syngenta or are used with permission.