Michigan Growers non-GMO Weed Control
By Jan Motz | May 15, 2023
Michigan growers can get a better return per acre with non-GMO soybeans. DF Seeds varieties offer comparable yields to GMO soybeans. Therefore, the main consideration is the change in how you manage weeds. Early in the season is a critical time of year for weed control management.
A good source for evaluating weed control options is the MSU Weed Control Guide for Field Crops. The information is also available online at www.canr.msu.edu/weeds In the guide, Dr. Erin Burns and Dr. Christy Sprague, Michigan State Weed Extension Specialists, provide a list weed control product options, the soybean tolerance, weeds controlled, use rates, application timing restrictions, crop rotation restrictions, and any other limitations.
Each year MSU compares all herbicide programs and Michigan growers can review them at the MSU Weed Day on June 28. The non-GMO field tour is typically done after lunch. If you’re a DF Seeds customer and interested in more details about this valuable event, contact your dealer or DSM for more information.
Several herbicides available for non-GMO soybeans are now being used for GMO soybeans as well because of resistant weed concerns. Many of these herbicides are also available as generic products under multiple names for the same herbicide active ingredient. Many are older products, but still very effective.
When considering non-GMO weed control, the key is to start with clean fields. This can be accomplished with tillage or a complete burndown. Often the burndown can include residual herbicides. Alternatively, you can apply your herbicides prior to soybean emergence. Once the herbicide is applied, the active ingredient is dependent on sufficient soil moisture to activate the chemistry. This year, we have plenty of soil moisture so approximately a half-inch of rain will get the herbicides working sufficiently.
As the temperature warms, the crops begin to grow, but so do the weeds. If the application of your herbicide and the next rain event are over 10 days apart, there could be weed escapes. Some of the small “no see em” weeds may be hiding under crop residue or dirt clods as well. There are many reasons for weed escapes. Whatever the reason, with non-GMO soybeans, scouting withing 3 weeks of planting is critical. If planting occured the first week of May, be sure to walk your fields before Memorial Day. The view from the pickup truck can be deceiving and costly.
Controlling weeds that are under two inches in height is critical for effective weed control. Remember, these plants “grow like weeds!” They can grow over two inches very quickly. Choosing your post-emergence product from the numerous options is very important. Verify the residual effect that each post-applied herbicides have as well as timing restrictions. Some of the post-applied herbicides have plant-back restrictions. Some have restrictions for planting wheat or small grains this fall. Many have restrictions for planting alfalfa this fall or sugarbeets next spring.
Keeping your non-GMO soybeans clean will ensure top-yield potential and fewer discounts when you market them this fall. Remember the following DF Seeds non-GMO varieties are food grade and keeping the soybeans weed free ensures less discoloration at harvest from weed escapes: DF 193 N F, DF 187 N, DF 155 F, DF Lily, and DF 262 NF.