• Agronomic Insights
  • Oct 23, 2023

6 Tips For Choosing and Managing Soybean Traits

Spray boom applying herbicide to a soybean field.
There is a lot to consider when choosing soybean traits. Once you decide, your management decisions will center around that selection for the rest of the season. From local conditions and herbicide application restrictions to spray best practices and adjuvant selection, let’s dive into the key factors you should consider for choosing and managing soybean traits successfully.
1. Know Your Options
The two big hitters most growers decide between are XtendFlex® soybeans and Enlist E3® soybeans. XtendFlex soybeans offer resistance to dicamba, glyphosate and glufosinate. Enlist E3 soybeans offer resistance to 2,4-D choline, glyphosate and glufosinate. 
Some growers still choose to stick with Roundup Ready® 2 Xtend® soybeans because they’re happy with their performance. However, as weed resistance builds and herbicide availability continues to hang in the balance, we recommend upgrading to XtendFlex soybeans for the additional control option the glufosinate resistance offers to help manage risk and better control weeds in-season.
2. Consider Local Conditions
One of the most important things to take into account is local conditions. What other crops are you planting? In the south, XtendFlex soybeans are the most popular because non-dicamba traited cotton is not nearly as sensitive to off-target dicamba movement as non-2,4-D cotton is to off-target movement of 2,4-D.
What are your neighbors planting? It helps to coordinate, or at least be conscious of, neighbors’ trait platforms due to the risk of off-target herbicide movement.
What has performed well in your area in previous seasons? Ask your CROPLAN® seed retailer for local performance data to see what’s worked best in your local geography.
3. Know Application Restrictions
A major determining factor for trait selection in the Midwest is application restrictions. In Iowa in 2023, for example, dicamba couldn’t be sprayed past June 12. If you plant XtendFlex soybeans and miss the dicamba cutoff date, your only option left for control is glufosinate. Glufosinate application cutoff is R1, which usually occurs right around the mid-June time frame as well. For this reason, many Midwest growers are moving toward and finding success with Enlist E3 soybeans.
Another key consideration some growers miss is EPA requirements for protecting endangered species. Especially if you farm in Iowa, Nebraska or Minnesota, we highly recommend checking the EPA website to see if there are any specific limitations for your area. You can enter your ZIP code, the month you plan to spray and the EPA registration from your herbicide label to find out if there are any specific requirements. For example, some areas require extra buffer space for dicamba applications, which may not make it a feasible option for your operation.
4. Start Clean, Stay Clean
You’ve heard it before, and we’re here to say it again. If you can see the weed from the cab of the sprayer, it’s already too late. Stay ahead of weeds with a proactive weed control program that starts with a burndown and followed by overlapping residuals to prevent weeds from emerging until your crop can canopy. Acting early and proactively also takes the pressure off postemergence applications.
5. Don’t Skimp On Residuals
Even though it’s widely known how important residuals are to maintain clean fields, we still see growers skimp on residuals to trim costs every year. Residual herbicides, by definition, offer a longer window of weed control due to their persistence in the soil. This feature alone helps explain why they’re an important component of a successful weed management program.
Layering residual herbicides with multiple modes of action throughout the season also helps control herbicide-resistant populations in your fields and helps prevent new herbicide-resistant populations from developing.
6. Get Adjuvants Right
When it comes time to spray, make sure you have the right adjuvants in the tank. For dicamba, you will need a drift reduction agent (DRA) and volatility reduction agent (VRA) to meet label requirements, but you shouldn’t stop there. Both dicamba and 2,4-D are weak-acid herbicides, which means they can get bound up by hard water cations in the tank and are most effective when a quality water conditioner is included, such as Class Act® NG® with the Enlist system or Class Act Ridion® adjuvant with the XtendFlex system.
Oil adjuvants like Superb® HCDestiny® HC and StrikeLock® also offer beneficial impacts to Enlist and dicamba tank mixes. Most notably, they help improve performance under adverse weather conditions, especially when it is dryer and hotter than normal. StrikeLock adjuvant is an especially great option because you get the drift and deposition benefits along with the oil component. To manage volunteer corn, you need oil anyway.
Here are our top adjuvant package recommendations for each system:
  • XtendFlex System: Class Act Ridion + UltraLock® + MAX-IN® K OR VoltEdge®
Class Act Ridion adjuvant is a non-AMS water conditioner designed specifically for dicamba applications. It also contains a non-ionic surfactant to help reduce surface tension for improved coverage. UltraLock adjuvant meets your DRA requirement for dicamba applications, considerably reducing the number of driftable fines without thickening the solution for enhanced herbicide efficacy without the hassle. MAX-IN K is a foliar macronutrient which meets VRA requirements for Engenia® and Tavium® applications while providing a boost of potassium right when the crop needs it. If applying XtendiMax®, however, VoltEdge adjuvant should be used instead.
  • Enlist System: Class Act NG® + StrikeLock® or Class Act NG + InterLock® + Superb® HC
Class Act NG adjuvant is a high-performing AMS-based water conditioner. It also contains a surfactant and CornSorb® technology. StrikeLock adjuvant is a methylated seed oil (MSO) that meets your drift and deposition needs while also covering the important oil component. If you prefer not to use the MSO component in StrikeLock adjuvant, InterLock drift and deposition aid plus Superb HC crop oil concentrate (COC) is an excellent option.  

No matter which soybean trait platform you choose, following these tips will help you get the most out of each technology. For more tailored recommendations and guidance, contact your local WinField United retailer.
All photos are either the property of WinField United or used with permission.

© 2023 WinField United. Important: Before use always read and follow label instructions. Crop performance is dependent on several factors many of which are beyond the control of WinField United, including without limitation, soil type, pest pressures, agronomic practices and weather conditions. Growers are encouraged to consider data from multiple locations, over multiple years and to be mindful of how such agronomic conditions could impact results. Class Act, CornSorb, CROPLAN, Destiny, InterLock, MAX-IN, NG, Ridion, StrikeLock, Superb, UltraLock, VoltEdge and WinField are trademarks of WinField United. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners