Agriculture Technology Stories

Understanding Metabolic Weed Resistance

When a weed scientist says a novel weed resistance issue is not well understood, it’s a little concerning.

Most farmers understand the need to apply multiple herbicide groups and rotate them to reduce the number of herbicide-resistant weeds going to seed. This practice reduces target-site weed resistance when a weed alters its genetic code so the chemical no longer fits the protein it was designed to attack.

However, some weeds are evolving to deploy suites of enzymes that work together to metabolize (detoxify) a chemical before it can kill a weed—known as non-target or metabolic resistance...

Sprayer Ownership vs. Custom Application

Deciding between investing in your own self-propelled sprayer or relying on a custom applicator requires evaluating multiple factors beyond how many acres you farm.

First and foremost, you need to explore spraying timeliness and labor considerations before any price shopping begins. Also, factor in which tasks the machine will perform beyond weed control, such as in-season fertility, insect control, multiple fungicide sprays and maybe even cover crop application. Do your business and team have the chemical knowledge, buying savvy, risk aversion, mechanical prowess and proper pesticide/equipment storage facility? And what about considering custom application for neighbors to reduce your costs or sharing ownership with another farmer?

How Herbicide Carryover Can Affect Cover Crops

Proven benefits of cover crops in a corn/soybean rotation have farmers re-evaluating their weed management programs.

One critical risk to evaluate is residual herbicide use and potential carryover given the timing of cover crop seeding. “One of our take-home messages for farmers is to base herbicide selection on weed control first, then adjust cover crop management accordingly,” says Alyssa Essman, Ohio State University weed science research associate.

Corn Height Impacts Post Herbicide Options

Optimal postemergence weed control in corn requires timely application. But if treatment is delayed due to weather, put on your scouting shoes. Corn sensitivity to herbicides generally increases as the plant gets taller, especially if herbicides enter the whorl. Knowing the crop's growth stage will help determine which herbicides to use – and avoid – to prevent crop injury and potential yield loss.

“Check each herbicide label to determine if there are application restrictions by the corn growth stage. If applying a tank-mix,...

Herbicide Layers Reduce Tough Weeds in Corn

A planter tune-up to improve consistent corn emergence is important, but a weed management strategy that properly layers the best available herbicides can put more bushels in the bin this fall.

Uncertain supply chain issues and higher input prices are the biggest challenges to achieving cost-effective weed control in 2022, says Bryan Young, Purdue University weed scientist. “Along with short supply and higher costs of glyphosate and glufosinate, we also hear issues with atrazine supply. As a result, growers may need to change their weed control plan by using premixes that contain atrazine and finding more economical glyphosate options due to a three- or four-fold price hike.”

Anhydrous Ammonia Application Safety Tips

The physical properties of anhydrous ammonia (NH3) make it one of the most potentially dangerous materials to handle on the farm. Exposure to this colorless, high-pressure liquid, which converts to a liquid gas can cause serious injuries. For example, anhydrous can freeze and/or burn skin, lead to blindness if it gets in the eyes and even cause death when inhaled.

“I can’t overemphasize the importance of safety with anhydrous,” says Ryan Bergman, Technical Project Specialist in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University. “It’s critical to always keep tabs on wind direction and stay up wind whenever possible when hooking up, filling tanks, and applying the product, along with keeping a respirator handy at all times.”

Herbicide Resistance Problems Persist

Herbicide resistance has been a part of the weed control landscape for decades now. When it comes to the question of whether this resistance is reversible, unfortunately the answer is no. It's a worst-case scenario: Herbicide-resistant weed species will maintain their genetic superiority over those chemistries as long as their offspring continue to add weed seeds to the soil. Stopping the use of those herbicides won’t reverse those genetics.

“That herbicide-resistance trait will be passed along to the weed’s offspring whether the herbicide is applied or not,” says Pat Tranel, associate head in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois. “There’s no negative effect on the trait in the plant. That’s why herbicide resistance increases. There’s an advantage for that resistant gene when the herbicide is used and no disadvantage to the weed when the herbicide isn’t used.”

Scouting Cornfields With a Drone

Extreme weather this spring, either wet or dry, has farmers focused on corn stands and plant health. These days, measuring a problem’s size and scope in given fields has more growers turning to aerial solutions to speed crop scouting and make those timely decisions.

“I’ve learned that there’s real power in a simple casual drone flight to really give you a lot of clues as to what’s going on in the field,” says Bob Nielsen, Purdue University Extension corn specialist. Your phone or tablet attached to the drone flight controller lets you see the crop through its camera.

Golly Farms Evolution to Precision: Harvest Data Empowers 2021 Decisions (Part 3)

Southern Minnesota farm applies engineering mindset with economic sensibility to improve new technology adoption decisions.
Ideal weather—aside from a six-inch October snow—helped deliver record yields and more improved data during 2020 for southern Minnesota farmer Todd Golly.

We caught up with Golly on November 5th as he and his brother Tim were piloting their two Case IH combines across their last field of 2020. “We had best-ever yields in corn and soybeans, with cornfields ranging from 240 to 260 bushels per acre and soybeans exceeding 60 bushels.”

Aside from losing about five harvest days and some subsequent higher grain moisture due to the early blizzard, fall harvest weather was warm and cooperative. On top of that, the market came through with higher...
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farmer prepares to fly drone

Golly Farms Evolution to Precision: A Slow and Strange Summer (Part 2)

“It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.”

This famous weekly lead-in to the news from a fictional rural Minnesota
town on the Prairie Home Companion radio show has felt strangely true as Todd Golly recaps his summer on the family farm.

“As farmers, we’re used to working alone or with family and a few
employees, but this year is unlike any other. The summer has seemed
slow—no company sales reps or research techs coming by; no
equipment companies bringing new technology to test; almost no grain
hauling as ethanol plants are closed or barely open; no kids activities; no summer farm shows or county fairs.”

Golly says it’s just not the same when personal visits are replaced by more computer screen time with email and Zoom meetings. “Yet the waterhemp are still hanging around,” he chuckles.

Golly Farms Evolution to Precision: It’s the Math (Part 1)

Their tech journey began with early yield monitors, which took yield from a basic field level to a map showing unexplained variability within fields. “Once we understood this granularity, it led to changes in soil sampling as we tried to figure out whether variability was caused by soil or topography or other things,” he says.

The next phase was early autosteer—basically a straight line—to simply try to get more hours out of equipment. “We were able to plant and do tillage through lunch breaks,

Part II: New farm show products

Check out our second installment of products found during our 3-day tour

I continued to power through the Farm Progress Show on day two amidst huge crowds to check out the latest offerings to make farms more efficient and productive.

In this part two gallery, check out a variety of products from tractors and sprayers to software, tillage, displays, hay tools, drills, herbicides and more. Click through the gallery for all the details.

And if you haven't already, check out the first gallery her

Making field variability pay

Farmers’ heads were nodding approval during a presentation by Dan Frieberg, as he showcased how farmers and advisors are using data to make profitable decisions.

Since Frieberg founded Premier Crop in 1999, their mission has been to assist growers and their trusted agronomic advisors to create real value from geo-referenced agronomic data. His team converts data to knowledge that supports improved production decisions in an economic and sustainable manner. “We’re a web-based software company th

Identifying problem acres

While most farmers can quickly point to field locations where yields traditionally drop, fewer farmers have data that drives decisions to change poor acres. But as EFC Systems Vice President Dave Muth pointed out at Corn+Soybean Digest’s data and technology conference last winter, data can help you specifically identify these problem acres (and find others), dividing them into different businesses. See Muth’s presentation in a gallery posted on CSD’s website (go to, where he w

Tips to build a digital farm strategy

To make the most use of your data to maximize yields, begin with a farm data strategy

One of the keynote speakers at our Ag Data Conference last November in Iowa City, Iowa, helped attendee farmers grasp the importance of a digital farm strategy. John Fulton, Ohio State University precision agriculture professor and data expert, provided insight on their data collection and organization, tools and software, evaluation, variable-rate prescriptions, security, sharing data and short/long-term stra