By Brian Hefty

I believe 2017 will be the largest one-year trait shift in soybeans in history!  Some areas are going heavy on Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans.  Other pockets are shifting to LibertyLink soybeans.  If Enlist was out (it isn’t expected to be launched in soybeans until 2018), I’m convinced many farmers would go that direction.  The common theme is, “Farmers have resistant weeds, and they want another post-emerge herbicide that will control those weeds.”  Here are a few questions we’ve been getting from farmers with Roundup-resistant weeds.

Q: Is there a yield drag with RR2X or LL?

A: I can understand how you would be reluctant to switch varieties if your Roundup 2 beans were phenomenal last year.  However, not only is there no yield drag with these traits, there is commonly a yield bump due to better, newer genetics and better weed control.  Our research in 2016 at numerous locations showed RR2X to be 1 to 2 bushels better than RR2Y.  We have had many farmers tell us their Liberty beans have been exceptional, too, so don’t worry about losing yield when you switch traits.  The only people I see talking bad about RR2X or Liberty yield are seed dealers who don’t have enough (or any) Xtend or LibertyLink to meet the growing demand.

Q: Shouldn’t I be concerned about spray drift with Xtendimax or Engenia?

A: Any time you apply any pesticide, you should be cautious about spray drift.  That said, these new dicamba formulations are amazing compared to old Banvel or Clarity.  We will probably have more than 1000 acres of Xtend beans on our farm this year, and I have zero worries about spraying dicamba, especially now that we learned NOT to use ammonium sulfate (AMS) in the tank.  AMS increases volatility, and I think that had a lot to do with some of the off-target issues in the past.  Also, instead of spraying 2,4-D in our non-crop areas, we will be spraying dicamba, since that is safe to both corn and Xtend soybeans.

Q: Do I need to switch spray nozzles to use Xtendimax, Engenia, or Liberty?

A: Probably.  First of all, are your nozzles old?  We find that many farmers are using worn-out nozzles today.  Switch nozzles on a regular basis to get the best spray pattern and the best control.  Second, Liberty and dicamba are two totally different products.  With dicamba, you want an Ultra-Low Drift nozzle.  We like the ULD nozzle from Pentair for dicamba.  When it comes to Liberty, you need better spray coverage, and drift isn’t as big a concern.  A nozzle like the Guardian Air Twin would be a good choice for Liberty.  If you are looking for a better price on spray nozzles, go to

Q: How big can the weeds be when I spray dicamba or Liberty?  I liked it when I could kill weeds that were 2 feet tall when Roundup first came out.

A: Your days of spraying 2-foot tall weeds are over, at least if you want good control.  Like most herbicides, dicamba and Liberty work best on weeds that are 4 inches tall or less.  Weeds should also be actively growing, and the weather should be warm.

Q: Can I skip the pre-emerge herbicide?

A: No way!  If you want the best weed control, the best yield, and less likelihood that resistance will build with these herbicides, you need to continue to use pre-emerge herbicides.  If you decide to stay with Roundup 2 beans for one more year – which we do not recommend in most cases, by the way – we strongly encourage you to apply 3 different pre-emerge modes of action.  If you switch to dicamba-tolerant or Liberty-tolerant beans, you can probably get by with 2 modes of action pre, but on our farm we will continue to use 3 pre’s so hopefully we only have to spray one time post-emerge.

Q: I heard there are no spray nozzles, adjuvants, or tankmix partners labeled for these new dicamba herbicides?

A: There are actually lots of things labeled now for both products.  These lists will continue to get updated throughout the year, so for current information go to for updates on the Xtendimax label or  or for updates on the Engenia label