Don't Skimp on Pre-Emerge

Mar 11, 2024

With spring rapidly approaching and the corn market not leaping upward, some farmers are trying to cut expenses for the 2024 growing season. I often hear the question, “Do I really need to spend money to apply a pre-emerge chemical in front of my crops, or should I add a residual to my post application?” The answer is yes on both questions!

Many fields in our trade territory support weeds that are tolerant or resistant to many of our post-emerge chemicals available today. Many weeds, such as water hemp, have only one effective post-emerge option, and that option is not the same in all geographies. Tillage may kill many emerged weeds before planting, but with no-till being the tillage system of choice in many areas, we must rely on chemistry to take care of our weed control systems.

With no new chemistry coming to the market soon, it makes it important to use as many modes of action as practical to keep weeds under control. Many of the top-performing pre-emerge chemicals offer multiple effective modes of action. Following them with a good post-emerge chemical will take care of any escapes from the pre-emergent program. Adding another layer of residual at post-application will give us a chemical program offering many effective modes of action to control the resistant/tolerant weed populations season long.

Yes, you may get by without using a pre chemical for a year or two, but it will eventually catch up to us. We’ll end up making larger populations of weeds that are resistant/tolerant to the chemistry available on the market today, and a train wreck of weeds will result.

Talk to your local SFG agronomist to help with a good two-pass chemical program that will add value to your acres for 2024.