“Just driving across my territory, there were certain fields that just kind of make you cringe because there was a lot of waterhemp out there,” said Nick Hustedde, FMC Agricultural Products technical sales representative in Illinois and Indiana.
“One of the things that’s interesting about the Amaranthus species is it’s about seven to 10 days from pollination to viable seed. So, I don’t think a lot of folks necessarily give that as much thought as they probably should because really what we need to focus on in terms of weed management is returning as few seeds back into the soil seed bank as possible.
“Given these prevent plant acres, it’s just kind of a nightmare situation where we’re just returning a ton of seed into the seed bank. We’re going to have to deal with that for at least the next three years, probably the next seven.”
There were prevent plant fields that had a substantial number of tall weeds before they were cleaned up and cover crops could be applied.
“When a herbicide of some sort was applied to take those big plants out, if they were seeding or even if they were over-label, which most of them were, that represents a sub-lethal dose,” Hustedde said.
“When we’re spraying sub-lethal doses, that’s a situation where we could drive resistance quicker and certainly something we need to be mindful of as we go into next season and make sure we’re rotating modes of action and employing those programs that would start clean and stay clean.
“Overlapping residuals would be critical and also thinking about some of those concepts that you don’t pour out of a jug.”
Cover crops are an option to manage weeds, but also row spacing.
“If we can narrow our rows and get a quicker canopy that’s always a good thing. We encourage folks to bump their seeding rates, as well. You get more inner-plant competition on those troublesome acres and that will cause a quicker canopy as well and that helps us manage plants throughout the season,” Hustedde said.
In the event that conditions or circumstances did not allow a farmer to put in a cover crop on prevent plant acres, Hustedde was asked what impact that would have a the field’s nutrient availability and overall soil health in 2020.
“What you may see is fallow crop syndrome. If there’s no crop out there or any sort of plant life it doesn’t help the microbial community and it kind of depletes it. A lot of times you’ll see is kind of a purpling, it almost looks like a phosphorous type deficiency and we have encountered that in the past,” he said.
“Cover crops are a good thing to help rebuild the microbial community and if they aren’t getting an established stand with they’re previous planting they need to probably think about redoing it and try to get something established before it freezes up on us.”
“In terms of what we’re seeing in the fields and recommendations that we might make, for those situations where there may have been prevent plant and we were able to till it or start clean, we probably want to think about applying a fall residual product and think about that overlapping residual recommendation in the spring.
“So, we’d come back with maybe an Anthem type herbicide treatment early post and make sure we are managing the waterhemp in particular throughout the season and we get the canopy.”
The wet early season environment this year also was ideal for disease pressure. Hustedde noted this year’s launch of FMC’s new fungicide, Lucento.
“It’s proven beneficial on frogeye leaf spot, grey leaf spot, and it’s one of those materials that our customers should take a look at and evaluate in the field because the performance has been outstanding,” he said.
The active ingredients of flutriafol and bixafen make their way throughout the plant via acropetal and translaminar movement to provide both curative and preventative control.
Lucento fungicide is the only proven tank-mix of SDHI bixafen and FMC-patented flutriafol active ingredients, offering novel disease control not previously available to U.S. row crop growers.
“It’s a premix of bixafen which is a new SDHI molecule — a broad spectrum SDHI chemistry — and with flutriafol which is basically the backbone of a lot of our fungicides. So, two modes of action with good activity, particularly in strobilurin-resistant pathogens,” Hustedde said.