Soybean growers across the U.S. continue evaluating their 2020 crop yields to make input decisions for this season.

Seed selection is often made first, and with more trait options available this year, Syngenta knows growers face the challenge of selecting corresponding herbicides that can best protect their seeds’ full genetic yield potential.

Syngenta representatives recently spoke to university ag researchers who reinforced the importance of a strong weed resistance management plan and explained the impact such a plan can have on soybean yield potential.

“Having the best crop genetics is like having the keys to a fast car,” said Sarah Lancaster, assistant professor and Extension specialist at Kansas State University. “Agronomics and fertility are like the gas in the tank. Having weeds is like having a leak in that tank.”

A key method to maximize yield potential is to use a combination of cultural and chemical practices to effectively manage weeds and prevent them from going to seed.

This means choosing practices such as tillage and narrow row spacing along with a full-season herbicide program that contains multiple effective sites of action.

Narrow row spacing promotes early canopy closure while the use of cover crops in integration with herbicide programs all form a sound weed management strategy, according to Prashant Jha, Iowa State University Extension weed specialist and associate professor.

“Full rates of herbicides, multiple effective sites of action and a combination of soil residual herbicides are the strategies to go with,” Jha said.

Growers have even more choices to make this year as new traits are available for planting.

“In recent years, new traits have come to the market that provide growers even more options for rotating their herbicides to new effective sites of action,” said Pete Eure, Syngenta herbicide technical lead. “The Syngenta portfolio can be used regardless of the trait system – from burndown through post-emergence. This gives growers the flexibility to choose their herbicide based on product performance and agronomic value for their specific field, all in combination with sound cultural practices.”

When developing a weed management program, growers should also consider the value their inputs make on their bottom line.

“So many folks are focused on the cost per acre with weed control,” said Bill Johnson, professor of weed science at Purdue University. “They really need to think about it in terms of cost per bushel.”

Studies indicate that for every day farmers are late with their herbicide application beyond the critical period they lose as much as 1% of their potential soybean yield.