If you are considering growing Identity Preserved (IP) soybeans, there are a few factors to keep in mind. IP premiums can increase income per acre using equipment you already have with a crop you are already familiar with. The big caveat of course, is weed control. The ability to keep the beans clean makes all the difference. Without a good strategy, herbicide costs can spiral, yield and quality can be lost, and IP premiums can quickly disappear. Here are five considerations to help IP bean growers find their way to a profitable year.
- Pick your field wisely. There’s nothing worse than finding out after your beans are in the ground that you have a serious perennial or annual weed problem. Management of all weeds is best done throughout a crop rotation. The soil’s health and fertility are the foundation of a clean field. Expect to see higher annual weed pressure on second year bean ground. Common ragweed and Canada fleabane can be especially problematic on these fields. A fall burndown or tillage can be effective tools to stay ahead of thistles, dandelions and large rooted perennials.
- Start clean. An effective pre-plant burndown is essential to remove any existing competition in the seedbed. The arrival of glyphosate-resistant fleabane calls for the addition of multiple mode herbicides in the tank. BlackHawk® is an ideal burndown partner for non-GMO soybeans. Combine it with glyphosate for a burndown that covers all the bases.
- Stay clean. The right residual herbicide makes all the difference. Controlling weeds proactively is the best plan for a clean field at harvest. Soybeans that are weed free from emergence to the third trifoliate tend to yield 4-9%1 better than those without residual protection. TriActor® is a true IP product – delivering excellent residual control of broadleaf and grass weeds. Like all residual herbicides, TriActor requires adequate moisture in the soil to perform its best in controlling germinating weeds. Consider tank mixing Blackhawk with TriActor for a knock-out burndown and residual protection from glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane.
- Have a backup plan. Even the best laid-out plans can go awry. Residual performance is subject to soil, weather and application conditions. Growers are recognizing they need to be ready to go back in-crop to ensure a clean field. For most annual weeds, this can be decided by 21 days after the application of the residual herbicide, when the beans are near the third trifoliate. Herbicide applications after this stage have higher risks of crop injury, incomplete control of larger weeds and do little to recover yield potential. In most situations, if a few weeds are left in field it’s not yield limiting. If the field is contaminated with volunteer corn, a delayed application of an in-crop grass herbicide may be required. New for 2019, Nufarm is introducing StatueTM – an in-crop grass herbicide with a new top tier surfactant to control the worst annual grass problems.
- Consider a pre-harvest cleanup. It’s inevitable that a few weeds will get away. In good growing conditions, residual herbicides will carry beans through to canopy and the window for weed germination will be closed. In a dry spring, a slow-to-close canopy can mean late emerging weeds. Weeds that emerge after V-3 present little to no threat to yield. They can however, present a nuisance at harvest. Green stems can create a difficult harvest and lead to stained beans. A pre-harvest application of glyphosate and Aim can deliver an easy to harvest field to the finish line.
Demand for non-GMO soybeans continues to grow internationally. IP premiums for 2019 are attracting more growers to the market and present a great opportunity. Designing a weed control strategy that’s proactive can help make sure those premiums stay with the farm.