How to Pick the Right Soybean Traits

Herbicide Tolerances Available For 2020 ( Photo: Lindsey Benne )

In 2019, farmers could choose from five primary traits, not including conventional soybeans. Next year, there will be at least one more.

“The new traits open up some different options, but ultimately it’s back to the yield gain from genetics,” says John Schartman, Corteva Agriscience U.S. category lead for Pioneer soybeans. “It’s important to not only rely on the herbicide that matches the system but prioritize the agronomic and defensive traits to complement the system.”

So, how do farmers wade through the options to find the one that makes the most sense for their wallets and fields?

  • Match genetics to the field. Before you even consider traits, make sure the seeds’ natural tolerances and characteristics will be successful.
  • Identify target weeds. Each herbicide tolerance trait provides specific chemical options. If there‘s resistance to your target weed, reconsider the trait package.
  • Talk to your neighbors. Depending on what’s in their fields, it could impact how and where you apply herbicides.
  • Protect the technology. Consider your tank-mix options and make sure you can apply a minimum of two effective modes of action with each herbicide pass.

“Regardless of the weed-control system, follow the label — it protects farmers, consumers and neighbors and provides high efficacy for the products,” says Tyler Uhe, Bayer’s Asgrow product manager.

It’s critical to protect traits and herbicides now because it takes years for a new herbicide to come to market.

“Don’t get overly dependent on one platform,” says Marc Hoobler, BASF U.S. soybean agronomy lead. ”The days of one trait platform dominating are over; it’s now fragmented, which is great because there's more choices.”