Happy New Year! There’s something about welcoming in a new year and a chance for a fresh start. I always enjoy watching or reading about the activities that happened during the year, if that’s major news events, sports, etc.

It’s also a good time to think about your operation, or in some regards, the processes and activities that were new. Overall, the 2020 growing season was near normal for most. It started early, went through a short delay due to rainfall in May, but harvest was good and a lot better than the previous couple of years. Yes, we had some weather issues (dry August) that impacted soybean yields and some wind damage that impacted corn.

Many of you got a jump on 2021 with record volumes of fertilizer applied and even some herbicide applications. This all happened as we watched the grain markets rally during the last couple of months. I continue to watch the Purdue Ag Economy Barometer, and it was near a record in November, and assume it will be another record for December. This is good news for you and how you plan to focus on input decisions for 2021.

Other good news that happened in 2020 was the approval of another herbicide trait that has cross-tolerance to three herbicides. XtendFlex soybeans joins a list of other effective herbicide traits used in soybeans. This will allow for some much-needed flexibility as we continue to manage hard-to-control weeds and increasing regulatory requirements. A current snapshot of soybean trait adoption based on current sales finds that more than 85% of soybeans will have resistance to glufosinate in 2021. However, the companion trait will either be dicamba or 2,4-D choline. Keep in mind that most soybeans (98%) still carry the glyphosate resistance trait.

I’m throwing in active names that you may or may not recognize. This just solidifies that soybean herbicide trait options are getting more complex. With the normal winter meeting circuit going virtual and/or canceled, it will be important to make sure you know what you plant, where you plant it and how you will spray it.

Not all herbicides are labeled nor do they all require the various management and stewardship requirements. For optimum performance, application volume, weed size, adjuvant recommendation, nozzle selection, droplet size, etc., are all factors that need to be considered since glufosinate requires different management practices as compared to dicamba or glyphosate.

I mentioned earlier that we have flexibility, but knowing your options will be critical. Stay informed and ask your FS Crop Specialist to help sift through the various options and application timings that meet your expectations.

Jeff Bunting, Ph.D., serves as GROWMARK’s crop protection division manager. His email address is jbunting@growmark.com.