William Lane says controlling weeds in his cotton and soybeans has become more and more of an adventure in recent years.
Besides problems with controlling glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth with other herbicides, Lane says he’s learned a lot about other facets of pigweed, including the need to chop it off below the soil surface and to drag it out of the field and away from crops.
“The hoe hands make you feel good for a couple of weeks because you don’t see them (the weeds),” said Lane, one of the panel members for a discussion on Dow AgroScience’s new Enlist Duo herbicide at its Driving Farm Solutions event in Leland, Miss. “Out of sight and out of mind, I guess.
“The Palmer amaranth or pigweed is what we’re having trouble with, and, unless they cut it off below the ground level it’s going to show its head again,” he noted. “You hope it doesn’t get as big and lush as it was before you chopped it out. We’ve chopped them, laid them on the ground and either irrigated or gotten a rain, and everywhere there was a branch touching soil, it rooted itself again.”
Lane believes the Enlist system with 2,4-D is the next tool for controlling broadleaf weeds in his crops in the adventure he’s had since he began farming in southeast Arkansas in 1991. He and other speakers on the panel alluded to the impact Roundup Ready crops had on farming 20 years ago.
“We went from going around four- or five-acre patches where we couldn’t control weeds before Roundup came out to clean fields,” he said. “Now that technology is going by the wayside, our weeds are coming back and our yields are plateauing because of it. If we expect to expand and improve our yields, we have to have a tool like Enlist.”
Enlist is more than a new formula of 2,4-D. Besides 2,4-D, crops containing the Enlist trait are also resistant to glyphosate and glufosinate or Liberty. The latter was a factor in this year’s weed control, according to Lane.
Lane sprayed Enlist Duo behind the planter in 2015 – 2,4-D has a two-week plant back restriction on non-Enlist crops. Three weeks later, he made another application of Enlist to control any escapes.
“And there were escapes,” he said. “We bed everything up, and we drug the beds down right in front of the planter. We covered up a lot of weeds, so on the initial shot of Enlist we didn’t get good coverage.”
The second application of Enlist controlled the escaped broadleaves, “and, a week after that, an application of Liberty finished everything off – grasses and any other broadleaves that made it through.”
Lane expects to use Enlist on 40 to 50 percent of his acres in 2016, targeting the system to his more problematic fields. He also plans to continue to rotate his herbicides by rotating to different crops and using herbicides targeted to those crops to put different modes of action to work.
“We’re not set up to have that many corn acres so we need something like this to get us ahead of the curve on where we are because we’re just trying to keep our heads above water right now with these things.”
For more on the Enlist system, go to www.dowagro.com.