Take to the Fields, and Scout!

May 29, 2024

Corn seedlings May 2024
It’s that time of year again, when your Federated Agronomists start repeating themselves over and over: “Scout fields early – and often.”
Why? Because “rescue missions never work,” said Sam Johnson, Federated ag sales rep in the Albertville area. The weeds are growing faster than you think.
Get out in your fields 20-25 days after planting. “By that time, any weed escapes from the pre-emerge herbicide will be obvious,” said Kevin Carlson, Federated’s agronomy sales manager. This is true for both corn and soybeans.
As you scout, “take into account how many weeds you see and what species of weeds are present,” said Johnson. With that info in hand, you can “determine how you should attack your next pass.”
If you didn’t apply a pre-emerge herbicide, start scouting within 14 days of planting because weeds will be flourishing, and “it’s always easier to kill smaller weeds than larger ones,” said Carlson.
“It’s better to spray early than to spray late,” said Johnson. But even post-emerge herbicides are best before the weeds get too tall – especially giant ragweed and waterhemp.
“Pull the trigger a little faster,” said Carlson, unless the field is relatively clean.
Without pre-emerge herbicides, a two-pass post-emerge plan is a given. “You have to get after the weeds to get a good kill,” said Carlson, adding that “early weed competition has shown time and time again to reduce yield because it is coming up with the crop … don’t let the weeds come and then try to get by with one post-emerge pass.”
Late-coming weeds (60 days out, for example) have less effect on yield. It’s the early weeds that need early attention.
Last week’s heavy rains created a “mixed bag” for herbicide applications and planting that wasn’t done, said Carlson. But that’s all the more reason to get out and scout fields and stay on top of the weeds.
Talk to your Federated Agronomist with any questions.

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