Soybean Pre-Emerge Applications: Not Optional

Jan 24, 2024

pre-emerge herbicides are no longer optional
“The easiest way to have clean soybean fields is to start clean, and stay clean,” said Brad Hipsag, Federated ag sales rep from the Ogilvie location. If the weeds are up when herbicides are applied, “it may already be a losing battle,” he said.
The battle against resistant weeds, Hipsag said, is fought “with pre-emerge herbicides where we  are spraying bare soil to lay a residual barrier to keep weeds from ever starting.”
The option to skip pre-emerge herbicides isn’t there anymore. For clean soybeans, pre-emerge herbicides are essential. Hipsag noted these factors when choosing and scheduling pre-emerge herbicide applications:
  • Many pre-emerge chemicals can be hard on the soybeans; spraying within 3 days of planting ensures the chemical never comes in contact with the soybean plant – thus ensuring crop safety. 
    • When Federated is your custom applicator, we ask for 1-2 days’ notice before you intend to plant the soybeans “so we can schedule and plan to be at your farm [for application] in the next 3-5 days.”
  • A dry spring and summer, like 2023, can be challenging for pre-emerge products, since most are activated by moisture/rain.
    • Don’t be deterred from 2024 pre-emerge applications if 2023 made you doubt the effectiveness of pre-emerge herbicides. Your best chance to keep fields clean starts with a pre-emerge herbicide. The weather isn’t a good predictor.
  • Perennial weeds require a burndown product mixed with the pre-emerge herbicide. Without a burndown product, you may need to “manage expectations and anticipate a possible breakthrough” of perennial weeds.
In the end, pre-emerge products take the pressure off post-emerge products to do it all – because they can’t – even in the most ideal situations, due to today’s herbicide resistant weeds. Great soybean technologies (such as Enlist®, Liberty®, LibertyLink®GT27, and ExtendFlex®) deserve the herbicide treatments to maximize their yield potential.
Pre- and post-emerge herbicides can together “slow the building of herbicide resistant weeds in the future,” said Hipsag. Talk to your Federated Agronomist about this year’s pre-emerge herbicide plans soon.

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