Following persistent drought conditions in 2012, weed control is more important than ever this year to preserve valuable soil moisture and get corn and soybean crops off to a good start. DuPont Pioneer agronomists say taking steps to maintain water for growing crops is key to a successful harvest this fall.  

“Early season management, critical to crop growth, needs to focus on weed control,” says Dan Berning, technical services agronomist in Lincoln, Neb.

A DuPont Pioneer weed-control study reveals yield loss due to weed competition could be up to three times greater if weeds are sprayed after growing beyond a height of two to six inches. Although the study shows the highest level of weed control by delaying postemergence herbicide applications until weeds are 12 inches tall, the tradeoff to waiting is increased yield loss.

The importance of weed control following 2012 drought“Growers need to be most concerned with weed control during the first three to six weeks after planting in order to avoid interference leading to yield loss,” Berning says.

With the added challenge of weed resistance to glyphosate herbicides, growers can best manage postemergent weeds by using more than one mode of action. Growers can consult their local DuPont Pioneer agronomist or co-op for tailored herbicide recommendations based on the weeds they see in their fields.

Even without herbicide resistance, a wide range of weed species holds an evolutionary advantage achieved over thousands of years. “Every time a grower adjusts weed control practices new weed species can become dominant. Best management practices for weed management include routine scouting and rotating or combining herbicide modes of action,” Berning says.

To assist growers with field scouting, Pioneer has introduced a new agronomy tracking tool: Pioneer Field360 Notes app. Compatible with mobile devices for use right in the field, Pioneer Field360 Notes streamlines and organizes field-by-field agronomic information.

“Growers who use Pioneer Field360 Notes app can take photos and map weed species information in real-time while in their field,” Berning says.

The Pioneer Field360 Notes application also includes the ability to mark problem infestation areas with GPS tracking so a grower can return to an exact spot later. An additional feature allows growers to share their Pioneer Field360 Notes app information with a local DuPont Pioneer agronomist or Pioneer sales representative.

“Not only can a grower track information in real time, but they can also get feedback from their local Pioneer representatives to help accurately identify challenges and work together to determine solutions,” Berning says.