POTOMAC, Ill. — Even when most of the soybeans in his area were just starting to be harvested, Randy Niver, DEKALB Asgrow technical agronomist in east-central Illinois, began talking 2020.
Specifically, Niver is talking about weed control, a priority topic for growers, given the challenges of the 2019 growing and weed control year.
“If they are in a no-till system, my biggest recommendation is getting a good fall burndown on. We have products like Autumn Super, throw some 2,4-D on there and get some of those fall germinating weeds knocked down now and have a little bit of residual to carry you through spring,” he said.
Niver is looking forward to a clean start to the next growing year when it comes to weeds and fields.
“The main thing is going to be start clean, stay clean, keep a residual out there at all times. We are going to need to get back into the mindset of spraying fields before we see weeds. If we are waiting until weeds are coming up to spray, I am afraid we are going to be at a point where we are too late,” he said.
When it comes to lessons learned from 2019, Niver said growers want to know how to use those lessons to choose products and practices for 2020.
“One of the biggest questions I am getting is what am I going to see a response from the most this year, whether it’s the fungicide or the seed treatment or looking at seed varieties,” he said.
Niver’s advice? Look at historical data, not just 2019.
“We are going to have to look at historical data to make any decisions for next year because I don’t think this year is going to show us that much that we can rely on with any kind of confidence. My biggest conversations have been around looking at historical information from either your farm or another trusted source and anything that you did this year, don’t write it off thinking it didn’t work,” Niver said.
He also is advising growers to not accept some of the practices they may have implemented this year, just to get seed in the ground, into their portfolio of accepted practices.
“Just because you were able to get away with some of the sins of the spring this year doesn’t mean that will happen again next year. We planted into some pretty poor conditions and, for the most part, we were pretty lucky and got away with it. That’s not something I would recommend as a practice in the years to come,” he said.
But when Niver talks about getting away with it, that’s with a caveat on yield.
“I’ve had a few growers take some beans out that were planted early for 2019 standards. They were planted at the end of April and in early May and were lower in yield than those growers are used to,” he said.
Niver said a large portion of his area suffered from a growing season that ranged from cold and excessively wet at the start to hot and too dry and then cool again.
“It really wasn’t ideal growing conditions for much of anything this year,” he said. But one bright spot was the performance of the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System.
“Many growers experienced very clean fields this year using the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System. Being able to get residual soil activity during the dry summer really played a large role in these clean fields. Maintaining a weed-free field improves your chances for higher yields,” Niver said.