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No. 1 Practice for Higher-Yielding Soybeans

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Brian and Darren Hefty are our guest bloggers for this post. They are responsible for the Ag PhD series of newsletters, TV programs, radio broadcasts and workshops that help farmers get the largest yields and profit returns possible. This week, they share the No. 1 practice you can use to increase soybean yields. What management practices do you use for higher-yielding soybeans?

The silver bullet for getting the biggest soybean yield gain has been right under your nose the whole time. It’s weed control! If your weed control isn’t great, your yields won’t be either. Here are some things that could improve weed control in soybeans:

  1. Three pre-strategy – Use pre-emergence herbicides or use a combination of herbicides totaling three different sites of action. For example, use Prowl® plus Authority® MTZ (Authority + metribuzin).
  2. Post-emergence residuals – Weeds such as pigweed and lambsquarters are tough to kill post-emerge, so consider adding more residual. Warrant®, Outlook® and Dual® can all be sprayed post-emergence. While they have no burndown effect on emerged weeds, they will stop future weeds for another few weeks, extending residual control.
  3. Scouting and weed ID – The days of just loading up with Roundup® and spraying every field are over for most soybean farmers. The key to great weed control and yields is scouting your fields at least weekly, and properly identifying the weeds in your fields.
  4. Picking the right tank mix partner(s) To get perfect weed control, it will take one or two tankmix partners with Roundup. Here’s a quick list of weeds and the best helpers to add:
    • Flexstar® (or Cobra® where Flexstar is not labeled) – Pigweed (waterhemp, palmer, etc.), kochia
    • Harass™ – Lambsquarters
    • FirstRate® – Giant/common ragweed, morning glory
    • Pursuit® – Wild buckwheat, black nightshade
    • Cadet® or Resource® – Velvetleaf
    • Select Max® – Volunteer corn, annual grasses
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