Farm Feature: Soybeans | Choices And Challenges

Iowa farmer chooses Roundup Ready® Xtend Crop System to control ragweed

Like Mother Nature, sometimes life itself throws unexpected and heartbreaking challenges at us. Stephanie Ballantine lost her husband, Chuck, in 2016. As a new widow, she was faced with one of the biggest decisions of her life — sell the farm that her father-in-law started in 1945 or take the reins and manage it. She chose the latter and has never looked back.

Stephanie Ballantine, Iowa Farmer

Today, Stephanie owns and operates a medium-sized row crop farm in northern Crawford County, Iowa, along with her operations manager, Josh Blair. They rotate corn and soybeans and practice no-till when possible.

"I was reluctant to try anything new," Stephanie remembers of that first season farming without Chuck. As her weed pressure increased and giant ragweed crept in, however, she began trialing new herbicide tools.

"We sprayed XtendiMax® herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology (Restricted Use Pesticide) on one of our fields, and the weeds started to wilt almost immediately," she recalls.

Stephanie has continued to rely on XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology. They do a pre-emergence application and follow up with a postemergence spray. "So far, XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology has done what it claims to do, and we've been happy with the results," she says. "In addition to raising the best crop possible, we strive to have clean, nice-looking fields. Weed pressure can really harm your crop, so clean fields give us peace of mind."

She attributes some of the herbicide's effectiveness to its 14 days of soil activity.1 "It's always good to have a product that lasts longer than [the products of] competitors," Stephanie states. "With soybeans, there's always a chance that weeds are going to pop up until that canopy is completely shut, so the longer the product [XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology] is out there killing weeds [in combination with a residual product], the better."

The proof is in her fields. Giant ragweed and waterhemp are no longer a threat to her yields, and she doesn't have to use any tillage.

She offers advice to others trialing XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology on their own fields. "Go to the classes, follow the directions and wait for the ideal weather conditions," she advises. "As farmers, we have to be very responsible. If people in the city know we're doing things right, they're going to have a lot more respect for us and what we do."

She uses the RRXtend Spray App, along with other weather apps like DTN, to gauge conditions prior to spraying XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology.

Trial and Error

"We're always trying different things," says Stephanie of her own side-by-side soybean trials. "We like to compare products under the same weather conditions and in the same general soil types. There's a learning curve, but we like to experiment."

A trial-and-error approach is serving this farmer well. "If you keep doing the same things over and over, you'll never see a different result," she says. "So, if you have a problem, you have to try a variety of solutions to see what works. You have to extend yourself a little bit and meet a challenge head-on."

Spoken by a woman who knows more than most of us about meeting challenges head-on.

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