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’ve already grown. 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 maximize their return on investment.
- 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 through 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 more herbicide-resistant weeds means that a burndown tank-mix should include multiple modes of action. BlackHawk® is an ideal 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 the best pre-emergent herbicide for IP soybeans providing triple action and up to eight weeks of residual control on a wide range of grass and broadleaf 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 fast, long lasting residual protection from glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane, common ragweed, and others.
- Have a backup plan. Even the best laid-out plans can go awry, often by factors outside of your control. Growers are recognizing they need to be ready to go back in-crop to ensure a clean field. Scout for weed escapes 21 days after the pre-plant burndown 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 the 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. Nufarm has two in-crop grass herbicide options, Statue™ and Idol™ that will also manage volunteer corn. Chaperone® also helps control broadleaf weed escapes.
- 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 a clean, easy to harvest field to the bin.
IP premiums continue to attract soybean growers to the market presenting good opportunities for profit. Designing a weed control strategy that’s proactive can help make sure those IP premiums get to the farm.