“Did you scout the field yourself”? Is a question I often receive during May and June from farmers as they begin herbicide applications. The response will be “No” for some of those conversations.
I have several crop scouts that help me throughout the summer months to cover the acres weekly. Experience ranges from nine years to no experience at all, so the importance of the training period and paying attention to details for these scouts is vital. Primary focus is weed identification, and examples of the details are distinguishing biennial wormwood from common ragweed, kochia from marestail, wild oats from cereal crops, redroot pigweed from waterhemp, and different types of foxtail grass species.
The scouts will make mistakes, as even I can make mistakes occasionally, but protocols are in place to limit mistakes and provide the best recommendation for our farmers.
Now, we take care of what we have, and in doing that there are many details that need attention. Post emergence applications of herbicides require the greatest attention during the coming weeks. Gallons per acre, nozzle type, surfactant load, time of day, temperature, size of weeds, wind direction, and stage of the crop all play important roles as the sprayers hit the fields.
Dicamba tolerant soybeans has been another example of how details matter. It has been a roller coaster event dealing with dicamba soybeans, from the chemicals being banned, to chemicals available for sale in some states, to then only available if purchased by a certain date. As a consultant that deals with many acres of dicamba-tolerant soybeans, it is a serious situation. Not all soybean acres were able to get the proper pre-emerge burndown recommendation applied due to weather constraints. Therefore, we now need the dicamba post-emerge pass to happen to manage our glyphosate resistant weeds.
In prior years, we had seen some issues with using the dicamba technology post emerge. The last two years have been issue free in our region, because the details mattered. Farmers sprayed at the right time, using the correct equipment and tank mix. Of course, that doesn’t mean there were no issues in other parts of the country, and I understand those concerns. If you are unable to use an approved dicamba herbicide, you will look to other chemistries such as reflex, warrant, or outlook. With those herbicides, the details certainly matter so make sure to adhere to your crop advisor and retailer recommendations with those products.
This year we have an increase in the amount of Enlist soybeans that got planted. Again this is a scenario where we need to know the details of which traits are being used as even some farms have both Xtend and Enlist soybeans. That has to be managed with more detail so we make sure not to only protect our own fields but the fields of our neighbors.
Have a safe spraying season and let's hope the wind will cooperate.
Mark Huso of Huso Crop Consulting from Lakota, N.D., works with farmers in six North Dakota counties in the production of cereals, canola, corn, edible bean, soybean and sunflowers. He can be reached on Twitter @husocrop or by email: email@example.com.