Today's Choices, Next Season's Success

When it comes to farming, it's not only the quantity of decisions but also the magnitude of them that can be daunting each growing season: What inputs do I need to invest my hard-earned money in this year? What crops should I plant and on which fields should I plant them to maximize yield? How will I keep weeds in check to maximize profitability? When you only have a finite number of harvests — limited chances to "get it right" in your career, every decision matters.

Fortunately, farmers have more data, innovation and technology today than ever before to help them answer these questions confidently. U.S. farmers chose the Roundup Ready® Xtend Crop System for an expected 60 million acres in 2019.

Clean Fields — A Matter of Pride

Not far from the Minnesota River in southern Minnesota, Burt Norell farms corn, soybeans, wheat and sweet corn and raises hogs and cattle with his brothers, Byron, who oversees tillage, and Bruce, who leads the planting. Burt leads the farm's weed management efforts and has used the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System as long as it's been available to keep giant ragweed and waterhemp at bay.

Burt Norell, Minnesota Farmer

"Keeping the weeds under control and having clean fields is a matter of pride, and we take a lot of pride in what we do," says Burt. "Keeping the fields clean can actually cost me less in the long run."

Burt says that early and effective weed control is especially important in wet years like 2019. "When Bruce is driving out of the field with the planter, I'm close behind with the sprayer," Burt says. "Then I come back with a second application of dicamba later to get broadleaf weed control out of it. I have always believed in applying herbicide when the weeds are small; early application buys me time."

This trio of farmers has been very happy with the weed control the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System provides. "We've had tremendous luck with it. It works very well," Burt says. Like any new technology, though, he advises farmers to invest time in learning how to use it properly.

"It works if you're willing to take the time and energy to do it right. Follow the label, apply it when weeds are small, watch the wind direction and talk to your neighbors,"1 he suggests, adding that these practices have worked in their area, even around sensitive crops.

As Burt and his brothers look to the future, they see dicamba continuing to be an important tool in their herbicide toolbox. "Weed management is a continuous process, because if you look the other way for even one season, waterhemp can take hold with up to 250,000 seeds per plant. You have to be patient."2

I've always believed in applying herbicide when weeds are small. Burt Norell / Minnesota Farmer

Show Me Cleaner Fields

About 800 miles south in the Show-Me State, Chance Limback also raises corn and soybeans and also chooses the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System to control his weed nemeses: waterhemp and marestail. Like Norell, this Lafayette County, Missouri, farmer says seed and herbicide decisions are especially critical in challenging years.

Chance Limback, Missouri Farmer

"It seems like even in tougher years, the yield is better with our Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans," Limback says. "We're happy with them, especially in very dry or very wet years. They're tough beans that can take a beating and the yield is still there."

Limback typically does spring tillage but went all no-till in 2019. He sprayed XtendiMax® herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology (Restricted Use Pesticide) early postemergence and credits this decision with knocking out tough weeds.

"Our fields have never looked cleaner," he says. "We're very happy with it."

Limback's decision to spray weeds early aligns with the latest weed management strategy outlined by the 2020 Spray Early With Confidence Program. Those who choose the No. 1 soybean system planted by farmers3 expect to see results. That's why Bayer designed a proven weed management strategy built on residuals and backed by a weed control guarantee.

"The right strategy begins with choosing the right products," says Dr. Neha Rana, Market Development Manager, Bayer. "Farmers should start clean, with an appropriate burndown herbicide at labeled rate or tillage, apply a pre-emergence herbicide application and follow up with a postemergence application. If they experience less than commercially acceptable performance on labeled weeds within 30 days after the postemergence applications [while following program requirements], Bayer will pay up to $15/ acre to assist in a second application on the affected areas."4

Farmers can visit for a complete list of program requirements and product details.

Our fields have never looked cleaner... We're very happy with it. Chance Limback / Missouri Farmer

The System Is Working

The number-one challenge each season for Barnes Farms, located near Kenton, Tennessee, is resistant Palmer amaranth, commonly known as pigweed. It has plagued Tennessee farmland for better than a decade and, recently, University of Tennessee researchers have documented Palmer amaranth to be resistant to four herbicide sites of action.5

Rance Barnes, Tennessee Farmer

Since adopting the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System, however, this family farm once again has a good handle on weed management, including pigweed.

Rance Barnes, Jr., grew up on this farm, located in the Obion River Bottoms, with its rich Memphis silt loam soils on hilly fields and low-lying river bottoms with streaks of clay-type "gumbo" dirt. Cotton and corn are the primary crops, with soybeans thrown in on river bottom fields planted later in the spring due to slow-to-recede floodwater or behind wheat on the hill ground.

Before adopting the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System, Barnes Farms operators found themselves making multiple Roundup® agricultural herbicide applications, trying in vain to control glyphosate-resistant weeds. They applied Gramoxone® herbicide under row-crop hoods in an attempt to kill weeds between the rows. And they hired extra employees during the summer to walk fields and pull resistant pigweeds.

Today, all of the farm's cotton and the majority of its soybean acres are planted to the Roundup Ready® Xtend Crop System. While the system has been important for improving pigweed management on the farm, a key to making the system work effectively is application timing, Barnes says.

On the Barnes farm, cotton and soybeans get the same burndown treatment in early March of Valor® herbicide, Roundup PowerMAX® herbicide and a clethodim product for ryegrass control. Their soybean planter is followed with a spray rig to apply Gramoxone as a pre-emergence treatment. In cotton, the planter is followed up with an application of Prowl® herbicide and Gramoxone.

Within 10 to 15 days after the crops emerge, Barnes expects to be in the field again making the first in-crop application of XtendiMax® herbicide with VaporGrip® Technology (Restricted Use Pesticide).

"The most urgent weed to control in our fields is resistant pigweed, so we want to be out there spraying about 10 days after emergence — that quick," he says. "We are scouting for weeds as soon as the crops emerge, and at the first sight of pigweed, we spray."

Rance with Garrett Montgomery, Bayer, Weed Control TDR, discussing weed control in the field

Barnes plants soybeans on 15-inch row spacings, allowing them to canopy quickly. After the first in-crop application of XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology, in a tank mix with Roundup PowerMAX herbicide and an approved acetochlor product, plus an approved drift-reduction agent (DRA), the soybean fields are typically finished with herbicide application needs.

In cotton, Barnes likes for young plants to have some legs on them before he makes the in-crop dicamba application. That typically occurs about 15 days after planting, applying XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology, Roundup PowerMAX herbicide, acetochlor and an approved DRA. Most cotton fields will require a second dicamba application before rows are canopied over. For a lay-by application, Barnes will go in with an application of Liberty® herbicide and Roundup PowerMAX herbicide.

From burndown to lay-by application, just five herbicide trips are needed to keep his cotton fields clean, and just three for soybean fields.

"In the past, you'd get to the point where you did not want to spend any more money on weed management and would just let them go," Barnes recalls. "The fact now that you ride around and don't see pigweed in fields like you used to see them, it just shows you how much the system has meant to the farming community around here. The system is working."

...You ride around and don't see pigweed in the fields... it just shows you how much the system has meant to the farming community around here. Rance Barnes / Tennessee Farmer

Promise of a New Season

These three farmers have very different operations and faced very different challenges in 2019. But each is confidently looking ahead to the 2020 growing season, which they'll enter with their tried-and-true management practices and a few new innovations, too. Looking down the road, XtendFlex® soybeans, expected soon, will feature triple-stack herbicide tolerance to provide farmers like them another option to help control the most challenging weeds.

Chance Limback scouting his soybean field in Missouri

"With their tolerance to three different sites of action — glyphosate, dicamba and glufosinate — farmers will have their choice of three effective herbicides to support them no matter what their weed challenge might be," says Lisa Streck, North America Soybean Launch Lead, Bayer.

While XtendFlex soybeans are expected soon, Stewarded Ground Breakers® Field Trial participants had the opportunity to conduct field trials in 2019.

"Having the additional over-the-top option is big," says Ben Buesing, Missouri Stewarded Ground Breakers Field Trial participant. "The three herbicides provide flexibility, which is the biggest advantage I see."

XtendFlex soybeans are just one more reason farmers can look confidently forward to the future.

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Take Action Against Resistant Weeds

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Putting Yield on the Line

The use of dicamba in-crop proves very important for brothers farming soybeans in both Arkansas and Missouri.

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