Weed control wisdom: Start clean – stay clean

Published on: 14:44PM Jan 21, 2011

Gordon Vail

Last season was typical for corn and soybean growers – the weather was unpredictable. And that is one reason that the mantra “start clean – stay clean” holds true when it comes to controlling weeds.
For example, a farm manager who works in southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska said that in 2010, rainfall rates were 200 to 400% higher than normal in the spring. That meant it was too muddy to get into many fields before crops – and weeds – were too large to spray. He expected weedy fields by fall, but he found that residual herbicide programs held well. He also credits early-season weed control with a 15% yield boost.

That yield boost shows up because pre-emerge residual herbicides provide good weed control well into the critical weed-free period, or the 4 to 7 weeds after planting when corn is most susceptible to weed competition. These residuals also widen the window for a second herbicide pass, which helps out when it rains a lot.


How do you start clean?


Gordon Vail, Syngenta Herbicide Technical Brand Manager, provides technical leadership for the biological development and labeling of corn herbicides for Syngenta. He holds a bachelor's degree in agronomy and a master's degree in weed science from the University of Arkansas, as well as a doctorate in botany and plant pathology from PurdueUniversity.