As we move into 2018, there are new soybean seed technology options on the market. Increasingly, we’ve been hearing buzz about the new dicamba-tolerant Xtend soybeans. At the same time, we’ve come across a few myths about the LibertyLink technology – myths we’d like to bust.
Last year, we grew 65 experimental varieties of Xtend trait soybeans on our research farm. We also grew 39 varieties of the new (still stewarded) Enlist trait, 24 Roundup Ready varieties, 23 LibertyLink varieties and 3 conventional soybean varieties.
After 30 years in soybean research, we know these and other seed technologies well.
MYTH #1: My seed dealer is convinced that LibertyLink soybeans have a yield drag…OR…my seed dealer is convinced that Xtends can yield 6+ bushels on average more per acre.
FACT: There’s no definitive data to support either statement. Unbiased variety performance tests in the last two years by the University of Arkansas shows no significant yield difference between any trait platform.
Overall, of all the technologies we grow on our farm, there isn’t one that we wouldn’t brag on. The fact is – there’s not a yield difference between platforms. They all yield well. We sell more than 12 LibertyLink soybean varieties and three Balance GT varieties. We tend to be partial to LibertyLink beans because of variety of choice, easy-to-tailor varieties to certain types of soils and conditions and consistency. At the end of the day, we recommend varieties based on performance and on a farmer’s unique farm and situation (not seed technology alone.)
MYTH #2: I’ve grown LibertyLink soybeans for a few years now. I want to avoid weed resistance so maybe it’s time for a change.
FACT: Worldwide there have been NO reported cases of weed resistance to the Liberty herbicide’s active ingredient, glufosinate. Additionally, an independent survey of nearly 500 growers across 21 states shows that Liberty was ranked no. 1 by growers for control of the spectrum of broadleaf weeds and ranked highly for ease of use and lack of off-target movement.
MYTH #3: I’ve grown LibertyLink soybeans for a few years now. I can probably better control the weeds in those fields now.
FACT: Since spraying dicamba after April 15th in Arkansas isn’t a legal option, you might be planning to control your weeds with a glyphosate mix burndown program. Unfortunately, even if you’ve been using glufosinate to successfully kill glyphosate-resistant weeds, viable off-spring of those weeds REMAIN resistance. It would take many years to eliminate the weed seed bank of glyphosate-resistant pigweeds.
MYTH #4: I don’t need the Liberty herbicide. I can use a pre-emerge program as a primary strategy to control glyphosate resistant pigweeds.
Since the use of dicamba is banned in Arkansas after April 15th, growing an Xtend trait variety means you are essentially just growing a Roundup variety. Unfortunately, you can’t rely on preemergence only to control glyphosate resistant weed pressure. Preemerge herbicides may not last long enough, and they are very sensitive to moisture issues. It’s just not a sure thing.
MYTH #5: Well, LibertyLink beans are older so they aren’t the latest and the greatest.
LibertyLink new varieties from Stine introduced each year from a mature pipeline of genetics. They’ve been through 7 years of proven testing. This means more varieties to choose from that are tailor made for certain soils, stress conditions, disease packages, row spacing and more.
“Will the LibertyLink varieties yield? The LibertyLink trait has been approved for quite a while, and the varieties are proven winners. Yes, there are enough good beans here that you could plant LibertyLink to your whole farm. Nationwide, the number of acres planted to LibertyLink increased by about 40% this year. That doesn’t happen if they aren’t good.” –Darren Hefty
Each farmer and each farm is different. There are no absolutes in this business. Good farmers use multiple strategies.
If you are thinking about trying new soybean seed technologies this year, that’s great. Mix your new technologies with proven results. Try to some Balance GTs, keep LibertyLink in the mix and keep your eye on the Enlists and Balance GTLLs for 2019. In this time of uncertainty spread out your seed investments, making sure that you have multiple ways to keep your yield high. Contact Doug today at 870.217.3059 to learn about all your options.
We’d love to be a part of your 2018 planning conversation and talk about the traits you need on the fields you have.
It’s your soil. Your farm. Your decision.