January 26, 2021

4 Steps to Powerful Weed Control with the Liberty® System

When Tim Lindhorst started farming a field south of Algona about 20 years ago, he knew weed control would be a huge challenge.

“This field is on a slope at the lowest end,” said Lindhorst, who lives near Burt and is a MaxYield Cooperative client who has been farming full-time for 37 years. “Due to the slope, weed seeds wash down into this field. The giant ragweed got so intense it would choke out other plants. You can’t imagine how ugly it got.”

Those tough weeds seemed immune to any herbicide Lindhorst used. “Pursuit® herbicide was so convenient, but over time it didn’t pack the punch it used to,” he said. “Then came glyphosate, which worked incredibly well at first. Over time, however, we threw Roundup® and everything you could think of at those weeds. Nothing seemed to work very well.”

When Lindhorst’s MaxYield agronomy specialist urged him to try the Liberty® system, he wasn’t sure. He was planting genetics from another seed company at the time, and the company didn’t have a Liberty soybean variety. “I hesitated and decided not to go with the Liberty system,” Lindhorst said.

His MaxYield agronomy specialist kept encouraging him to take a look at the Liberty system, however. “I knew I had a weed control problem that wasn’t going away,” said Lindhorst, who finally decided something had to change.

About six years ago, Lindhorst tried some Liberty beans from Latham Hi-Tech Seeds. “The giant ragweed started coming on like it always does, so we sprayed Liberty,” Lindhorst said.

A few things were obvious right away. Liberty didn’t burn or stunt the beans like other products. At first, however, it didn’t seem like the Liberty was doing much to control the ragweeds. “My MaxYield agronomy specialist at the time said, ‘Tim, they’re dead. They just don’t know it yet.’ It wasn’t long before that field looked beautiful.”

Lindhorst was dumbfounded. The results were so dramatic that Lindhorst planted 100 percent Liberty soybeans the next year. “It’s just amazing,” said Lindhorst, who has MaxYield apply pre-emerge herbicides to his fields, while he applies the post-emerge products. “I’m also pleased with the yields I’m getting.”

THE EASY BUTTON HAS LEFT THE BUILDING

Success stories like this stand out at a time when weed control is becoming more complicated than ever. “There are limited options for weed control in soybeans,” noted Tim Bruns, an agronomy specialist with MaxYield Cooperative. “The efficacy of many herbicides is decreasing, plus you’ve got all the traditional issues of timely spraying.”

Then there’s the challenge of herbicide resistance. “Did we learn anything from Roundup? This question is huge,” Bruns said. “Roundup was an incredibly effective, all-encompassing chemistry, and we messed it up by relying on it almost exclusively.”

Mother Nature hasn’t made things any easier. Wet conditions in previous years made it tougher to control weeds in a timely manner. This has boosted the weed seed bank in many fields. “That’s one bank account you don’t want to pad, because a lot of those seeds are viable for four to five years,” Bruns said.

Relying on post-emerge products to control weed escapes isn’t the answer. “While Flexstar® has been the basis of many post-emerge treatments on beans, time and time again I’ve seen it not do the job it should,” Bruns said.

If all that weren’t enough, it’s getting more complicated for crop-protection companies to get new weed control chemistries through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a timely manner. “When it comes to weed control in soybeans, the easy button has left the building,” Bruns said. “If we don’t take a different approach, weed control will only get more expensive.”

TRY THE S.T.O.P. SYSTEM WITH LIBERTY

Bruns and his agronomy team members at MaxYield have seen impressive results when clients incorporate the Liberty system into their farming operation. Liberty’s unique mode of action provides excellent performance on key weeds and greater application flexibility.

The four-step S.T.O.P. system offers an effective way to put Liberty to work for your acres:

  1. START CLEAN AND STAY CLEAN

Preventing early weed growth reduces yield loss from weed competition and enables more effective weed control from post-emerge herbicides. “One of your best weed-control weapons is a pre-emerge residual herbicide,” said Bruns, who urges farmers to use the full rate on corn and soybeans. “If you can stop weeds from coming up, you’ll have fewer problems down the road.”

Successful weed control might need to involve multiple residual herbicides, Bruns added. It could include the pre-emerge, followed by a different residual product applied with the post application.

  1. TARGET SMALL WEEDS

Weeds like waterhemp and Palmer amaranth grow incredibly fast and can be hard to control once they reach 3 inches. In all cases, small weeds are easier to control with post-applied products than big weeds. “Liberty is labeled for 4- to 6-inch weeds, not 1-foot tall weeds,” Bruns said.

  1. OPTIMIZE COVERAGE

Apply the correct rate of herbicide, along with the proper water volume and the right droplet size for best results. “Liberty is a contact herbicide, so proper coverage is essential,” Bruns said. “If you’re using Liberty, go with the full label rate,” he added. “You’ll only build herbicide tolerance every year if you don’t.” Also, don’t skimp on water when applying Liberty. “Coverage is key,” said Bruns, who noted that 20 gallons of water per acre is the recommendation with this herbicide. “So what if you have to haul more water? It beats weedy fields and it increases your odds of getting it right on the first application.”

  1. PAIR WITH RESIDUALS

Use multiple effective sites of action for pre-emerge and post-emerge residuals helps prevent resistance by reducing the pressure on a single herbicide. “At MaxYield, we do our homework,” Bruns said. “We understand what the product labels says, and know what products work well in a tank mix together.”

Finally, don’t shy away from old-fashioned weed control. “Even when you use the right crop-protection products at the right time, there could still be a few weeds escape,” Bruns said. “When you see these weeds, get in your Gator or side-by-side vehicle, and go pull those weeds.”

Your MaxYield agronomy specialist is ready to help you figure out a weed control strategy tailored to your fields’ unique needs. “We can also advise you on what’s working—and not working—on other farms,” Bruns said.

Remember one key question as you make your weed control decisions, he added. “What’s your long-term goal? Do you want to keep crop-protection products working as effectively as possible for as long as possible, or do you want to go back to walking every acre of beans?”

“IT’S SUCH A RELIEF TO HAVE LIBERTY”

The answer is clear to Lindhorst. While the field he farms south of Algona will always pose weed control challenges, due to the lay of the land, he knows weeds don’t have to get the upper hand.

“I have absolute confidence in MaxYield’s recommendations,” Lindhorst said. “It’s such a relief to have Liberty. I’m 55 years old and hope I can finish out my career using Liberty.”

He also encourages other growers who are facing weed challenges to try the Liberty system. “I’ve yet to talk to anyone who is using Liberty who doesn’t like it.”•

LEARN MORE

For more information on the Liberty system and how it can work for you, contact your local MaxYield agronomy or seed specialist.

 

Just How Good Are Liberty® Soybean Varieties?

It’s one thing for the Liberty system to offer an effective weed management solution. But how well do these soybeans yield?

“We’ve been working with Liberty beans for over ten years, and their yields are competitive with any other variety,” said Dan Bjorklund, seed team leader at MaxYield Cooperative. “The idea that there’s a yield drag with Liberty-trait soybeans today is a myth.”

New options for Liberty soybeans fit even more growers’ production systems. In 2019, MaxYield began offering Stine brand Enlist E3® soybeans. “These beans were competitive, in terms on agronomics and yield,” Bjorklund said. “They averaged 70 bushels per acre at our Algona plot.”

Liberty herbicide can be used not only with specific genetics from Stine Seed and Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, but XtendFlex® soybeans under the Asgrow brand, which will be available in 2021. Liberty herbicide can be used as part of a planned weed-control strategy, or it can be used to clean up weed escapes, Bjorklund said.

Don’t forget that the Liberty system can help you address other challenges beyond weeds. “We sell a lot of Liberty beans in the Des Moines Soil Lobe across MaxYield’s territory, because growers like the beans’ tolerance to the high pH soils that tend to be common in that area,” Bjorklund said. “XtendFlex and Enlist E3 beans continue to be the highest yielding varieties across our territory, with options for strong offensive and defensive varieties.”

As you plan your 2021 crop, work with your MaxYield agronomy or seed specialist to select the right soybean varieties and agronomic package for your acres. We appreciate your business and look forward to providing the solutions you need.

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