Published December 14, 2021

For the Farmer

Written by
Charlie Adams
| The Dakotan
Farmer spraying field south of Mandan [Photo: North Dakota Tourism]
Farmer spraying field south of Mandan [Photo: North Dakota Tourism]

Rethink your plan for 2022

MOHALL—As farmers have already been making many preparations for the 2022 season, we are finding out that while 2021 was a unique year, 2022 will be a challenging one as well. The first thing we know is that we cannot go into 2022 thinking that we will just do whatever we did last year.  

With the prices on crop inputs like herbicides and fertilizer skyrocketing almost daily, we need to get creative on which crop protection products to use.  That being said, it is always still important to start by looking at what you did last year and asking, “What went right?” and “What went wrong?” then analyzing costs from there and looking at how you will change things, especially herbicide recommendations.   

Specifically, when looking at weed control in soybeans, the main components in the past have been Roundup used with Xtend or Enlist traited products. Xtend and Enlist traits are, by far, the most responsible systems to use in soybeans to control Kochia especially. 

Both Roundup and Liberty have gone way up in price and honestly, who knows if they are done going up and what the availability will be? The smart decision is to completely avoid Liberty in Enlist soybeans and go with the Enlist Duo formulation. That is significantly cheaper, and there are rebates to take advantage of in that scenario. 

The more important question is what about my Invigor (Liberty tolerant) Canola? Well, you must use Liberty in there, so budget carefully, and if you can, secure the Liberty now so you know you have it – and you know what your cost is. While the label is vague and says you can store it in freezing temperatures, we recommend you store it in heated storage so that it does not turn into a sludge at the bottom of the container. I have heard from experienced agronomists who have been around a long time and have seen the ill effects of Liberty stored outdoors over the winter.   

Going back to Roundup. Clethodim is a product that has been tank mixed in-crop for soybeans to control grasses. This can certainly be used as a substitute for Roundup, if your Roundup has turned into a grass killer over the years due to growing broadleaf resistance. The use rate is 4 to 6 ounces per acre depending on the grass pressure. As always, scout your fields before and after application of all products, because there may be some other options for controlling perennials that your Roundup previously took care of.   

With respect to seed purchasing, there are a lot of factors to consider year to year, and we all know that every year is different. With as dry as it was all season long in 2021, it does not take a rocket agronomist to understand that the yields were better in the areas that caught a little more rain. Someone said to me during harvest, “I’ll bet the farmers just want to get this year over with.” That may be true, but now is the best time to really look back on some specific characteristics of your crop that you just combined.   

You know the adage, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” If you are seeding a big percentage of your soybean acres to one variety, that is exactly what you are doing, and it is incredibly risky. No one can predict the weather, and this year’s plot winners are often middle of the pack or worse next year. Did you have more than one soybean variety this year? I hope so. If you did, how was one variety different from the next? Did one hold up better in the drought conditions? Did one show some promise in the low spots a little more than the other?  

Think back to your seed purchase. Odds are you looked at a seed guide or brochure that listed specific agronomic ratings or disease tolerance factors. Compare each variety using the agronomic ratings from the seed company. While you may just want to turn the page on 2021, be sure to use the information from this past harvest to plan for next spring and beyond.   

With the way the fertilizer prices have been rising, we all expected corn and soybean seed prices to be way up this fall, but they are not. The big companies are fighting it out right now for soybean trait supremacy between Enlist and Xtend. Nationally, half the market has gone to Enlist, which is the trait that allows you to spray Liberty, Roundup, or the new 2,4-D choline that has basically no volatility.  

The other half of the market has been Xtend, but that is quickly switching to XtendFlex, so you can also spray Liberty, in addition to Roundup and dicamba. Either way you go, these genetics give you the best chances for excellent weed control and profitability. Many people do not like Enlist because they do not have dicamba protection, but in many cases leaf cupping either helps yield or at least does not hurt it.  Plus, by going Enlist you have more late weed control options, but again XtendFlex and Xtend yield very well, so either way is a winner.  

“Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful, and most noble employment of man.”George Washington

There are a lot of factors to consider when planning for 2022. There are also a lot of positives to focus on. Remember the words of our first President, George Washington: “Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful, and most noble employment of man.” Keep this in mind when you look at how other areas of the economy are doing and how urban areas are facing many challenges that we sure would not want to face. It’s a pretty good gig we have here at home, and we’ve got an opportunity to do it all again in 2022. 

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