Scouting to get the most out of every acre

Farm Forum

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC — For the cleanest fields and highest profits, it’s time to refocus on weed control. A recent BASF poll showed nearly 80 percent of growers are changing their weed management programs to head off herbicide-resistant weeds – and with resistance confirmed across 31 U.S. states, a good scouting technique is a must for every field.

“Understanding the biology of the weeds already present in the field is the first step for farmers to gain control of their weed problems,” said Luke Bozeman, Technical Market Manager, BASF. “But scouting is equally important, and keeping an eye out for weeds that may have survived an early-season application is critical.”

Scouting has evolved from a task to a science. While there are many new technologies and custom weed identification tools that farmers, crop scouts and company agents use to quickly and accurately identify common weeds in their fields, traditional scouting techniques are still critical. Moving in a diagonal pattern across fields is the best approach to capturing accurate data of persistent weeds and gaining a broad sample survey.

Timing is essential for effective weed control and scouting should be done early in the growing season. As weeds get bigger they become more difficult to control and can continue to grow and produce seed. This can keep soil weed seed banks high and increase weed problems next year, contributing to crop competition and yield loss.

Harold Coble, an agronomist for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), agrees that proper monitoring of fields could curb some of the weed problems growers face today.

In addition to scouting, the saying “cleaner fields equal higher yields” has really hit home for many farmers, who are looking to utilize the most modern weed control available. Advanced Weed Control from BASF is an unmatched portfolio of proven herbicides with the most sites of action offered by any manufacturer. These flexible, effective herbicides can be combined and customized to meet specific crop and agronomic needs. For example:

·A spring burndown with a residual herbicide like Optill PRO herbicide for soybeans or Verdict herbicide for corn provides quick, effective weed control to prepare for planting and helps to decrease the weed seed bank during the season.

·To stay clean, farmers should use proven herbicides that offer residual control through early-to-mid season. Zidua herbicide offers application flexibility from preplant through early post-emergence. According to 10 years of research and field trials, the residual weed control provided by Zidua herbicide lasts up to two weeks longer than other herbicides currently on the market, which helps protect growers’ yield potential.

To find more successful scouting tips and contact information for your local BASF herbicide representative, visit

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