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Mike Hunter, CCE – North Country Regional Agriculture Team
The cool, wet month of May and start of June has created some challenging weed management situations for both corn and soybean. Unfortunately, delayed planting seasons force growers to focus so much on getting the corn and soybean planted they may not have had the opportunity to make a timely planned preemergence (PRE) herbicide application.
Here is a common situation that we are already encountering this season. We have a field with corn or soybeans planted and cool conditions have delayed crop emergence but the weeds have already emerged before the PRE herbicide treatment was made. Do we stick to our original plan and apply a PRE herbicide to this field or do we need to make adjustments to the herbicide program?
If your planned PRE herbicide application has been delayed, it is very important to carefully consider your herbicide choices and make necessary adjustments if any weeds are emerged at the time of application. With adequate rainfall, PRE herbicides can provide excellent weed control; however, once the weeds are emerged they will generally need some additional product to the tank mix. The additional product could be another herbicide to add to the tank mix or just an adjuvant such as non-ionic surfactant (NIS), crop oil concentrate (COC) or methylated seed oil (MSO). There will be many more options in corn than soybeans.
Corn fields not treated with an herbicide prior to crop emergence need to be looked at carefully. If very small weeds are emerged at the time of the PRE application the answer may be as simple as adding adjuvant to the PRE herbicide. Consult the herbicide label and follow the adjuvant recommendations based on the products in the tank mix.
If the corn has emerged and the annual grasses are over 1 inch tall and the broadleaf weeds are 2 to 3 inches tall, it may be necessary to add another herbicide to the PRE herbicide. If the corn is glyphosate tolerant, you may only need to add glyphosate to the preemergence herbicide program. Using this same scenario with conventional corn, you will likely need to include a postemergence (POST) herbicide to the PRE herbicide. Examples of POST tank mix herbicides to consider for control of both emerged annual grasses and broadleaf weeds include: Revulin Q, Realm Q, Resolve Q, Capreno, Laudis, Armezon. The effectiveness of these POST herbicides varies with the control of different annual grasses making proper weed identification critical. Again, check the herbicide label prior to making any herbicide applications.
If you are using a PRE soybean herbicide it will likely be an Herbicide Group 2 (Pursuit, Python, Firstrate), 3 (Prowl, Treflan, Sonalan), 5 (TriCor, Dimetric, metribuzin), 7 (Lorox, Linex), 14 (Valor, Sharpen) or 15 (Dual, Warrant, Outlook). Soon after soybeans are planted, there is a narrow window to make certain PRE herbicide applications. Valor (flumioxazin), Sharpen (saflufenacil), metribuzin and any premixes containing these active ingredients must be applied prior to crop emergence. Lorox (linuron) is another PRE soybean herbicide that must also be applied prior to crop emergence. Prowl, Treflan and Sonalan are applied prior to planting soybeans.
Soybean fields not treated with a PRE herbicide after crop emergence where very small weeds have emerged can be more difficult to deal with, especially if a population herbicide resistant tall waterhemp is present. Recently, Dr. Bryan Brown, NYS Integrated Pest Management Program, conducted tall waterhemp herbicide resistance screening trials at Cornell University. Using tall waterhemp seeds collected from three different fields in New York, preliminary results indicate that two populations were resistant to glyphosate (i.e. Roundup, Group 9), three populations resistant to atrazine (i.e. Aatrex, Group 5) and two populations resistant to imazethapyr (i.e. Pursuit, Group 2). Fortunately, none of the tall waterhemp screened were found to be resistant to lactofen (i.e. Cobra, Group 14).
If a population of multiple resistant tall waterhemp is present, our effective herbicide options are limited. The PRE herbicides that will provide control of multiple resistant (Group 2, 5, 9) tall waterhemp include Dual, Warrant, Outlook (S-metolachlor, acetolchlor, dimethenamid-P), Prowl, Treflan, Sonalan (pendimethalin, trifluralin, ethafluranlin) Valor SX (flumioxazin) and Lorox, Linex (linuron). If both the soybeans and multiple resistant tall waterhemp have emerged, our effective herbicide options are very limited. Dual, Warrant and Outlook are the only PRE herbicides listed that can be applied POST; however, these products will not control emerged weeds. In this situation it would be necessary to include either Reflex or Cobra (Group 14) to the tank mix to provide control of the emerged tall waterhemp.
Soybeans with the herbicide resistant technologies such as Liberty Link (glufosinate tolerant i.e. Liberty), Xtend (dicamba tolerant i.e.Xtendimax, Engenia, FeXapan) and Enlist E3 (2,4-D i.e. Enlist, glufosinate and glyphosate tolerant) provide additional options for POST control of resistant tall waterhemp.
This spring has provided very limited opportunities to plant corn and soybeans due to frequent rainfall and wet field conditions. This challenging spring has also made it difficult to apply planned PRE herbicides in a timely manner. It is important to carefully scout your fields before making any herbicide application to make sure the right products are included in the tank mix. And as always, check the herbicide label prior to making any herbicide applications.
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Bryan Brown, New York State Integrated Pest Management, Cornell University
Mike Hunter, Regional Field Crops Specialist, Cornell Cooperative Extension
Several populations of waterhemp have been found on farms in the central and western parts of our state. These populations have established over the past couple years by plants that have escaped control, likely due to resistance to certain herbicide sites of action. One waterhemp population survived several herbicides and reduced soybean yields by around 50 percent.
Additionally, Palmer amaranth was found growing near one farmer’s barn. He believes the seed arrived on some used equipment from the Midwest. The plants were collected and burned, but we’ll continue to monitor the site for future emergence.
Both of these weeds are likely resistant to glyphosate and PPO inhibitors, among others. We’re hoping to run some spray chamber trials this winter to determine their resistance to certain sites of action.
While other pigweed species have short hairs on their stems, waterhemp and Palmer amaranth have smooth stems. The best way to distinguish waterhemp and Palmer amaranth is to rip off one of the lower leaves. As shown in Figure 1, if the leaf-stem (petiole) is longer than the leaf, it’s Palmer amaranth.
Unlike other pigweeds, waterhemp and Palmer amaranth have separate male (pollen producing) and female (seed producing) plants. Herbicide resistance traits can transfer by pollen, which has allowed these weeds to develop resistance faster.
To prevent these weeds from taking hold, growers are also recommended to start weed-free with tillage, followed by a 2-pass program of residual and post-emergence herbicides that utilizes several effective sites of action. Foliar applied herbicides should be used when these weeds are less than four inches tall. Since these weeds emerge over a broader timeframe than most weeds, mid-season residual herbicide applications should be considered, along with increased planting density or tighter row spacing to help close the canopy earlier.
If you do find yourself with escapes of these weeds, it makes economic sense to go hand-rogue those weeds out of your fields rather than deal with 200,000 to one million seeds in your soil from each weed. If there are too many to bag up by hand, consider sacrificing that patch of your crop by mowing and tilling the area before the weeds produce seed. Avoid harvesting these areas. Combines are especially good at spreading weed seeds. If you must harvest these areas, know that combines can carry 150 pounds of plant material even you think it’s empty, so check out some of the great online videos on how to clean them out after going through weedy fields.
The weakness of waterhemp and Palmer amaranth is the short lifespan of their seeds in the soil. Of those that don’t germinate, very few will survive in the soil for more than four years. So, if you can keep it under control for four years, you won’t have much of it after that. But as one Pennsylvania grower put it, “the cheapest way to control Palmer amaranth is to never get it in the first place.” So, it’s important to make sure that your seed, feed, bedding, and equipment are clean from the start.
Ohio State University has been dealing with these weeds for a while, and has a helpful listing of resources: https://u.osu.edu/osuweeds/super-weeds/palmer-amaranth/
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Mike Hunter, Cornell Cooperative Extension-North Country Regional Ag Team
According to the International Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds, there are 497 unique cases (site of action x species) of herbicide resistant weeds globally. This organization also has reported that weeds have evolved resistance to 23 of the 26 known herbicide sites of action.
Herbicide resistance management strategies must be included in all weed control recommendations. Herbicide resistant weeds are not new for growers in New York State. In fact, we have four officially confirmed herbicide resistant weeds which include common lambsquarter, smooth pigweed, common groundsel and common ragweed all of these cases are resistant to triazine herbicides. Common ragweed was the last herbicide resistant weed case reported back in 1993.
This list will soon grow to include at least two, if not, three new herbicide resistant weed cases in NYS. Added to the list will be horseweed (marestail) and tall waterhemp. Many growers in Central and Western New York are now dealing with herbicide resistant marestail and a much smaller number of growers are now finding resistant populations of tall waterhemp in their fields. The third suspected herbicide resistant case is the recent discovery of palmer amaranth on a NY farm in October. This is the first report of this weed growing in NYS. For those unfamiliar with palmer amaranth, the Weed Science Society of America ranks it as the most troublesome or difficult to control weed in the United States.
Remembering back to pesticide applicator training classes, you may remember the term Mode of Action when herbicides were discussed. The mode of action can be used to describe the process or how the herbicide controls the targeted weed. When we talk about herbicide resistance management we need to think about Site of Action (SOA). The SOA is the location in the plant where the herbicide acts or has its effect on the plant. The SOA is sometimes referred to as the Mechanism of Action.
When selecting herbicides to include in the tank mix we must now pay close attention to not only the mode of action, but also the site of action. Resistance management strategies include using herbicides with different sites of action. It is challenging enough to come up with an effective herbicide weed control program and now we are being asked to include herbicide sites of action in the decision making process. Fortunately, there has been a numbering system developed to make this an easier task. There are now herbicide group numbers assigned to each different SOA. The group numbers are found on the first page of almost all herbicide labels that we currently use in field crop production. Multiple numbers in the box indicate the herbicide or herbicide premix has more than one SOA (see example below).
It has been said many times before that there is an app for just about everything. This is true about an app used to look up the specific SOA(s) for herbicides. Take Action on Weeds has a very handy herbicide lookup tool app that can be used on Android and Apple smartphones, tablets, as well as, desktops. It can be found at www.IWillTakeAction.com/app
When we use herbicides with the same SOA over and over again it fosters the development of herbicide resistant weed populations. To prevent or delay the development of herbicide resistant weeds we must include herbicides with different sites of action in the tank mix. In order for this resistance management strategy to work you must have at least two different SOAs that are effective on the targeted weed.
Here are some scenarios that demonstrate how we can best use the herbicide group numbering system when making herbicide application recommendations.
Let’s examine a no-till soybean burndown program for control of multiple resistant marestail (glyphosate and ALS resistant (or Group 9 and 2)) using a tank mix of glyphosate (group 9) + Valor XLT (a premix of Classic (group 2) + Valor (group 14)) + 2, 4-D LVE (group 4). This herbicide program contains herbicides with 4 different SOAs, a group 9, 14, 2, 4. The marestail in our example is resistant to both group 9 and 2 so these products will do nothing to control the marestail; however, the Valor (group 14) component in Valor XLT and 2,4-D LVE (group 4) will provide two different effective SOAs on our targeted weed, multiple resistant marestail.
Here is another example using glyphosate resistant (GR) tall waterhemp in Roundup Ready soybeans. A Flexstar GT (a premix of Flexstar (group 14) + glyphosate (group 9)) application applied postemergence to soybeans for the control of emerged GR tall waterhemp will provide control. It will provide control of GR resistant waterhemp because the Flexstar (group 14) in the Flexstar GT is providing the control. However, from a resistance management strategy this may not be the best program because the only effective SOA in this program is from the Flexstar component. This will put greater selection pressure on our population of tall waterhemp and it could eventually become resistant to the Group 14 herbicides. To improve this program you could elect to apply a soil applied herbicide preemergence such as Dual II Magnum, Outlook or Warrant (all group 15 herbicides) followed by a postemergent application of Flexstar GT. This will provide two different SOAs (Group 15 and 14) that are effective on our targeted weed, GR tall waterhemp.
Utilizing effective herbicide resistant management strategies goes beyond just using herbicides with different effective sites of action. This is just one part of the resistance management puzzle that we need to piece together so that we can delay the development of resistant weeds from showing up on our farms. Herbicide names used in this article are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute and endorsement of the product.