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Timing Matters in Corn Weed Management

December 17, 2020
This agronomic image shows a weed-free corn row.

2017; Ohio City, OH: Acuron® 3 qt/A plus simazine applied preemergence.

Weeds are tough enough to manage, so why let them get a head start? Aim to start fields clean by controlling troublesome weeds in corn before they even emerge, and keep them clean throughout the season.

Corn plants can only grow as well as their conditions allow. When they emerge with weeds present, your corn stalks are immediately competing for vital nutrients and their growth is fundamentally altered. Both effects reduce yield potential from the start.

Since many weeds grow swiftly once they emerge from the soil, they can rapidly surpass the optimal height for control (less than 4”) before you have a chance to make your herbicide application. Remember, 4” is a lot smaller than you might assume. Most 4” weeds cannot be clearly seen from the road, so if you’re able to spot weeds in your field from your truck, you may’ve already missed the recommended application timing.

This illustrated graph compares a weed size to a lighter.

Solid, early-season weed control has its benefits:

  • Healthier root systems that can better tolerate environmental conditions like drought and high wind speeds.
  • Ability to reach maximum yield potential when it doesn’t have to compete with weeds for vital nutrients like nitrogen, sunlight and water.
  • A reduction in the weed seed bank, which puts less strain on subsequent crops and weed management programs.

Dr. Clarence Swanton, professor emeritus in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph, says the presence of a weed at corn emergence changes the physiology of the plant without even touching it. And based on this knowledge, you can detect yield loss before you even reach the end of the season – some data suggests this loss could be as high as 3.3 bushels a day.

Controlling weeds early with a planned preemergence herbicide application helps ensure corn gets off to a clean, weed-free start and allows more flexibility for a planned post-emergence application if weather becomes an issue.

Acuron corn herbicide delivers broad-spectrum control of more than 70 of the toughest grass and broadleaf weeds across all field types and conditions.

The strength of control and the residual power of herbicides are revealed in 1-pass programs, as is the case with Acuron. When used in a preemergence application at full label rates, Acuron delivers 5-15 more bushels an acre because it controls tough weeds other products miss.* And better weed control equals higher yield potential.

Calculate the extra revenue potential you could find next season with Acuron.

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©2020 Syngenta. Important: Always read and follow label instructions. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states or counties. Please check with your local extension service to ensure registration status. Acuron is a Restricted Use Pesticide. Acuron® and the Syngenta logo are registered trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. Verdict® is a registered trademark of BASF Corporation. Corvus® is a registered trademark of Bayer. Resicore® and SureStart® are registered trademarks of Dow AgroSciences, LLC.

*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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