I hope every farmer is optimistic 2010 will bring us a better weather pattern than 2009. I don’t wish for a drought — I hate them with a passion — but somewhere between a drought and a new rainfall record would sure be nice.

Every farmer is to be commended for getting through the 2009 crop — if for nothing else for just fighting the mud.

I think back to the fall of 1965 when a farmer friend had a field of new-ground rice. It was a wet fall, and he asked me to drive a grain cart for a week or so before heading off to college.

He baited me by promising I could drive his brand new John Deere 4020. He had it equipped with dual combine tires on the rear and duals on the front to fight the soft ground. That was the meanest looking tractor I had ever seen at the time and I thought, “Man, this is going to be a blast.”

The first time or two I got stuck it was actually sort of fun. However, after we spent more time dragging log chains and cables than we did on the tractors, the fun wore off in a hurry. I remember once we had four tractors and four combines buried at the same time.

Even though today’s equipment handles the mud much better, I am sure the fun wore off in a hurry in a lot of fields this past fall.

Before moving on, I need to circle back on a comment I made in a recent article that resulted in several e-mails asking, “Did you really mean that?” In the article I was discussing farmer reluctance to intercrop LibertyLink soybeans with Roundup Ready soybeans because of concerns about the drift of Ignite killing the Roundup Ready soybeans and vice versa, or concerns about getting in the wrong field with the sprayer.

The statement that drew the comments was “LibertyLink soybeans are reasonably tolerant to glyphosate and vice versa.” That was clearly a matter of me thinking one thing and writing another. What I really meant was LibertyLink soybeans are reasonably tolerant to drift rates of glyphosate and vice versa.

While on the topic, I will relate a few situations that address the point that caused the readers some concern and also my overall point that the two technologies can easily be intercropped if a grower decides he really wants to do it.

First, you can kill Liberty Link soybeans with glyphosate and you can kill Roundup Ready soybeans with Ignite. A couple of years ago I walked a field where the applicator did not clean the sprayer after applying glyphosate and banged up a field of LibertyLink soybeans pretty good. His comment was, “Roundup is glyphosate and Ignite is glufosinate, so I assumed they were similar.”

Sprayer cleanup is relatively easy with both glyphosate and Ignite — but it is a requirement.

I saw another situation last year where the applicator sprayed a LibertyLink field and had some spray solution left over. He proceeded to add glyphosate, refill and spray a field of Roundup Ready soybeans. Needless to say, that was a replant opportunity and the comment was, “Oh, I thought Ignite was the same thing as Touchdown.”

Neither incident should have happened, but I can assure you neither applicator will make the same mistake again.

On the other side of the spectrum, I have walked fields on a lot of farms where the two technologies are being intercropped without a hint of a problem. I actually saw one field last year where the farmer had Roundup Ready cotton and LibertyLink cotton planted row to row in the same field.

My overall point in the article where I caused the excitement is more growers are going to have to get outside the box. Both to prevent herbicide resistance, and to manage it in the fields where it is already occurring, weed control has become more complicated whether we like it or not.

Whether you are changing your crop rotation, integrating more conventional herbicides into your Roundup Ready system or integrating LibertyLink crops into your program, certain changes in management practices and certain precautions go along with the changes.

e-mail: ford@weedconsultants.com