21 Jan Why you should be growing Herbicide Tolerant Sorghum in 2022
Why you should be growing Herbicide Tolerant Sorghum in 2022
Herbicide tolerant crops have been with us since the late 1990s in most major row crops, so we will assume everyone understands the benefits of these technologies in the market for corn, soybeans, and other crops. Herbicide tolerant sorghum went from nothing to three choices in the market in the past two years. Advanta, through their Alta brand, launched igrowth™ sorghum last year and S&W, through its Sorghum Partners™ brand, will launch Double Team™ Sorghum in 2022. Corteva has Inzen™ sorghum, but its commercial status is unknown and it is similar to igrowth in its weed control mode of action and weeds controlled.
Double Team was developed to be tolerant to FirstAct™ (Quizalofop), a member of Group 1 or the Acetyl CoA Carboxylase inhibiting herbicides. This an important distinction from the other two herbicide tolerant sorghum systems for two reasons. The first is that FirstAct provides excellent control of grass weeds, both annuals and perennials. The second is that FirstAct has not been widely used in the U.S. in the past, unlike the herbicides used in the igrowth and Inzen systems. Hence there are very few existing weeds that are resistant to FirstAct. This is also why following the stewardship programs developed by all three companies is important to maintain these technologies.
Herbicide tolerant technology adoption is based on return per acre. We can talk a lot about other features like reducing weed pressure in the following crop and harvestability for herbicide tolerant crops, but how it affects your bottom line is key. The real evaluation comes down to how much additional yield does the technology bring to your field and how much does it cost compared with the conventional system? We have created a calculator to help growers evaluate the value of Double Team in their fields. In most cases Double Team will be an add-on to a grower’s current herbicide program, so we can evaluate the additional cost of Double Team and compare it to the increased yields.
Download and save the spreadsheet to your computer to be able to fully edit with your on farm use.
In our example, the seeding rate is 45,000 seed/acre, sorghum is priced at $5.25/bu, yield loss to grass weeds is 10%, sorghum yields are 90 bu/acre, Double Team Sorghum seed is $299 per bag and FirstAct is set at $12.50/acre. In this comparison, we are comparing it to fully loaded conventional sorghum at $210/bag. When we factor in all these variables, Double Team returns over $26/acre. In many fields with severe grass problems, a 10% yield loss is extremely low with the real yield loss being 50% or greater. We had several growers comment after this past growing season that they could see the value of Double Team. In areas of the field where they had heavy weed pressure, their sorghum yields were drastically reduced compared with places in the field where their weed pressure was lower or there were no grass weeds present.
Your initial reaction to the cost and benefits of new technologies might be that they are too high and decide to wait another year and see how other growers like it. We challenge you to trial Double Team this year in your highest grass pressure sorghum fields vs your standard herbicide program. Once you evaluate the system and see the benefits of controlling grass weeds, you will see that Double Team is a great investment for you and the sorghum industry.
Remember, Cleaner Fields = Bigger Yields.