Early planning key to setting up weed management in 2021:
NAFB interview with Atticus executive vice president for central U.S. crops, Mike Henderson



NAFB: Even as spring approaches, many growers remain on the fence about what the best weed management strategy might be for 2021. The good news is there is still time for growers to work with their crop advisers to lock in a plan that will help them be ready to take on the season’s unique weed challenges. Mike Henderson, executive vice president for central U.S. crops at crop protection manufacturer Atticus, shares some ways growers can be sure they are set up to kick off an effective, economical weed control program…

Mike Henderson: Number one, it’s be educated about what we’re dealing with in each individual field. Knowing what our driver weeds are, those that are the hardest for us to control. That’s the first thing, to understand what we’re dealing with. The second one, from a mindset that I think is important for us is to understand that controlling that weed population prior to emergence, specifically prior to crop emergence, is the best choice that we have for long-term management of that field and to get optimal performance from our crop protection products to deliver the best opportunity for yield.

NAFB: From there, growers can make decisions on what herbicides work best in their weed management program. Henderson says that starts with knowing what the weed spectrum is in each field and cropping system…

MH: If we understand that part, we can begin to take those main threats and start to build plans around which ways that we’re going to go about controlling them. The next part of that strategy needs to be how do we control those weed populations prior to emergence, both emergence of the weed and emergence of the crop. It’s one of those things, if you’ve ever witnessed or been a part of really good weed management, we always play from ahead. And my opinion, playing from ahead means we stop emergence, or we stop as much of those weed populations as we can prior to actually having the crop established. And the last thing I think is really important for us when we think about weed management strategies for spring herbicide use is multiple modes of action.

NAFB: In more difficult fields, perhaps a new farm or rental ground with harder to control weeds and large populations, he offers these recommendations…

MH: So again, I think we go back, know what we’re dealing with, address some prior to weed emergence and crop emergence. When we think then about multiple modes of action, and anytime we get in these really tough to control situations, I’m a big proponent of making sure that we use as much of the technology as we can, and I think using those labeled rates for the soil type and environment that we’re all dealing with is really, really, important when we start thinking about trying to manage those situations. And the final thing, there’s a lot of really, really, good trusted advisors in our local communities, those people that want to help create active solutions for growers in these hard-to-manage situations. We shouldn’t be afraid to seek out that advice from those trusted advisers.

NAFB: And, given the ongoing pandemic, he says it’s more important than ever to plan your weed management program as early as possible…

MH: We can’t start early enough talking about how we’re going to manage and how we’re going to get superior weed control each year. Once we’ve made those types of decisions, communicating to your service provider as early as possible is important. We really didn’t see the impacts of COVID in crop year 2020 because the supply chain was already built. Crop year 2021 is much different and you can absolutely see the challenges. So, early communication with your ag retail business on what it is that you need, when you’re going to need it, are an absolute must as we go forward.

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