County Extension agents from across North Carolina went back to school in late July to bone up on identifying problems that farmers face with weed control in soybeans and corn.

The field day, which also included two days for dealers, was held in Goldsboro.

North Carolina State Extension weed and crop specialists conducted the day-long field day, giving agents a first-hand demonstration of symptoms ranging from herbicide injury to which weed-control program adds the most to the bottom line.

The demonstrations were planted expressly for the field day and gave the agents an opportunity to “brush up on herbicides,” says Art Bradley, North Carolina State Extension agent in Edgecombe County. “At a field day like this, you get to see the things you'd normally see in a farmer's field. It's a really good chance to get reacquainted with herbicide symptomology. Farmers are the ones who ultimately benefit from the training we get here today.”

Researchers talked about the benefits of HADDS, a herbicide decision aid developed at North Carolina State University. HADDS takes in account the species and numbers of weeds. The computer program estimates yield loss with and without herbicide, calculates the cost of treatment and the expected net return from each treatment, Bridget L. Robinson, a North Carolina State University research assistant, told the agents. She demonstrated HADDS effectiveness with Roundup Ready as well as conventional soybeans.

Scientists provided plots of corn and soybeans treated at regular rates as well as three times the labeled rate in order to show herbicide injury. Walking through the plots, a researcher quizzed the agents on which herbicide caused the injury. Recognition of the symptoms of herbicide injury was the reasoning behind the plots.

Alan York, North Carolina State University Extension weed specialist, walked the agents through Roundup Ready soybean demonstration plots. He talked about tank-mix partners in Roundup Ready soybeans, Roundup Ready corn, glyphosate formulations, corn and soybean weed treatments, Clearfield corn, and Liberty Link corn.

Afternoon sessions included a weed identification clinic held by Roger Batts and Mike Burton, as well as more time in the field. Their message: identify the weed when it's small, treat and always map for the next season.