Easy-to-use alternative for soybean yield, weed control

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"We've been looking for something, not necessarily to replace Roundup Ready beans and glyphosate herbicide, but to complement our Roundup program," said Greg Kerber, a Gibson City, Ill., farmer who is planting half of his soybean acres this spring to LibertyLink soybeans.

Yield success last year in an 80-acre field convinced Kerber to expand his LibertyLink soybeans tenfold.

"It was not a test-plot situation, but the 80 acres were surrounded by Roundup Ready 2 Yield and original Roundup Ready soybeans. The LibertyLink beans were the best beans I had on that farm, not by a wide margin, but they more than held their own with the other two technology trait beans," Kerber said.

"The LibertyLink program is an equal program with Roundup Ready, when looking at weed control using Ignite herbicide compared to glyphosate," Kerber added. That benefit carries over to cost-per-acre. Both Ignite and Roundup are offering lower prices for the 2010 season, he said. Bayer reduced its price for Ignite in the range of 20 percent.

Technical sales consultants with Bayer CropScience, who work with large farmers, their retailers and farm managers, report their clients have been open-minded to learning about a soybean production system that is essentially as simple and cost-effective as a Roundup Ready program.

"The measurement of success in my mind with the adoption of the technology of LibertyLink seed and Ignite herbicide is such that farmers who have planted the soybeans last year are planting them again, and some are placing them on 100 percent of their soybean acres," said Brian McDaniel, technical sales consultant in Indiana.

"The yields were excellent and in many cases outperformed any other varieties planted on their farms," McDaniel noted.

John McKean is a technical sales consultant serving the southern half of Minnesota and said discussions with growers in his area are similar to McDaniel's. Both consultants are educating growers about the value of a LibertyLink/Ignite program for both its yield potential and ability to break weed-resistance patterns.

"In Minnesota, we are beginning to see weed resistance or tolerance to glyphosate herbicides," McKean said.

"Planting LibertyLink soybeans on a portion of their acres allows growers to easily rotate out of continuous glyphosate use.

"Ignite is a nonselective contact herbicide; so, they need to get good coverage of the weeds for optimum control results, and more water per acre improves that situation." Minimum application rate is 22 ounces of Ignite with 15 gallons of water per acre in soybeans.

Confirmation of success in seeing weed control within days, not weeks — even controlling Roundup Ready volunteer corn — is added satisfaction to many growers, McDaniel said.

Kerber said, "When we look at the weeds controlled with Ignite, it is pretty much the same as we've been expecting out of our Roundup applications. Ignite just has to be handled a little differently with higher gallons of water to assure coverage on all the weed leaves, which is basically what we did before we began spraying Roundup all the time."

He also said, "There are a lot of choices of varieties and maturities for LibertyLink soybeans. I'm not planting seed just because it is LibertyLink. I'm planting good seed genetic varieties for yield performance that happen to be LibertyLink, and this also helps me with weed-control concerns."

For more information regarding LibertyLink soybeans and Ignite herbicide, readers can contact McDaniel and McKean, respectively, at brian.mcdaniel@bayercropscience.com and john.mckean@bayercropscience.com.

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