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Beck’s arming growers with herbicide data at Insight Days


EFFINGHAM, Ill. — This year for the first time, Beck’s Hybrids hosted Herbicide Insight Days. Held at its location in Effingham, a former dairy farm, on June 25-26, Beck’s weed scientists and agronomists provided insight on how to increase return on investment and battle an ever-growing list of herbicide-resistant weeds.

Topics included nozzle selection when spraying, importance of Group 15 herbicides in soybean protection, how the time of day can influence herbicide performance, tank mixtures, herbicide rotation, and value of pre-emerge herbicide programs. Farmers met at Beck’s main building, then were transported to the test plots.

Jonathan Perkins, Beck’s Practical Farm Research program agronomist, oversaw the event and said the days were all about “multiple modes of action.”

“We are a seed company, and we don’t have skin in the game,” he said of evaluating different herbicides. “Our ultimate goal is to help farmers succeed on their yields and return on their investment.”

He gave Joe Bolte, herbicide specialist, credit for most of the plot planting and creation.

Austin Scott, a field agronomist out of Tennessee, helped author Beck’s brochure Recommended Herbicide Programs for Soybeans 2019 edition. He went through many of the different programs farmers are using. As the brochure states: “As important as the variety you plant is, it’s equally important to find the right herbicide program to fit your needs.

“That’s why we created our herbicide program recommendation guide: to help farmers mitigate confusion surrounding the technologies, both old and new, on the market, and to maximize yield across every acre.”

Scott said one way to keep abreast of changes, when new products come and go, is to learn the active ingredients in the chemicals rather than their trade names. If that sounds daunting, there is a United Soybean Board Herbicide Classification chart that offers a farmer the information they may need to know.

This chart has two sections: by mode of action (effect on plant growth), and by premix. The chart can help a grower select what herbicide will work and which one to rotate, because it warns that repeated use of herbicides with the same site of action can result in the development of herbicide-resistant weed populations.

This chart is available online at

While going through the various programs, Scott also reminded farmers to always be sure to check the website for the label for tank mix, to be sure to use the right application. He also recommended that when choosing one’s program, that farmers know the fields and the broadleaves that will grow in them.

Agronomist Alex Long went through some of the choices of nozzles and talked about which ones work better in sensitive fields and with which herbicides. Overall from his study, he advised, “TwinJet is my go-to.”

Perkins provided a presentation about the Importance of Group 15 herbicides, explaining the bottom line is that they offer better weed control, leading to better yields.

Presenters said this year herbicides acted so differently than in previous years because of the excessive rain. It was easy to see in examples, the differences between the plants where rain had activated the herbicides and those that had been applied and then no rain had fallen.

Bolte said while the chemicals in the herbicides haven’t really changed, what has is that seed is more tolerant to the different chemicals.

“The main takeaway,” he said of the Herbicide Insight Days, “is for farmers to buy their seed or chemical and think, ‘I want to try this from seeing it firsthand in 2020.’”

Bolte hopes farmers walked away with a better understanding of some of the topics presenters provided, and that they can make educated decisions based on what they saw in Effingham. For more information, log onto