Tom Connors, Illinois

With about 3,200 acres of corn and soybeans, Tom Connors stays busy. With his dad, two sons and trusted employee, he plants, sprays and harvests the crops while raising about 50 head of cattle. Connors is a steward of the land. He works diligently to keep his fields as weed-free as possible, and that’s why he chose the Enlist weed control system.

Illinois Farmer Makes the Most of Every Opportunity

What can a farm kid from a town of 500 people accomplish? If you ask Tom Connors, he would say more than anyone could ever imagine. He knows firsthand because of the opportunities he’s had.

He serves as the board of directors’ chairman for the CNH Elevator and on the state board for Farm Business Farm Management (FBFM). He has traveled to Japan to see agriculture from a different perspective.

“I grew up farming,” Connors says. “When I graduated high school, we had hogs at the time, and they were my babies. I went to a local community college for ag and computer classes, and from there, more and more opportunities opened up.”

Opportunity knocks … weeds down
One opportunity was for Connors to visit a field demonstration in Indianapolis to see Enlist E3® soybeans. During the visit, he saw the tolerance Enlist E3 soybeans had to Enlist herbicides with 2,4-D choline as well as the weed control the Enlist herbicides provided.

“We’ve had some volatility issues in the past with other products,” Connors says. “That makes for hard conversations with neighbors. When we find something that eliminates volatility, it makes things work a lot smoother.”

In 2018, Connors grew Enlist E3 soybeans for production for Corteva Agriscience. A requirement was to leave a 10-foot buffer around the field for isolation purposes, prior to full commercialization of the Enlist E3 trait.

“You could have painted a line where I applied Enlist Duo,” Connors says. “I’m pleased with the application. The volatility is nil. We run with qualified nozzles at 35 to 40 pounds of pressure. The product looks like raindrops coming out of the sprayer.”

In 2019, real raindrops delayed postemergence applications. But Enlist Duo® herbicide was up to the task.

“Rain kept us out of the field when I wanted to make my Enlist application,” he says. “I finally got in and sprayed. I questioned whether I’d have a clean field. But the weeds started slowly disappearing.”

Despite the delays, he ended up with a nearly clean field.

Planned postemergence applications
To start the season right, Connors emphasizes the need to apply effective residuals. Planting 100% no-till soybeans, Connors uses Trivence® as a preemergence residual herbicide. Then, three to four weeks later, he follows with a postemergence application that includes Enlist Duo herbicide. With this program approach, Connors doesn’t overpressure his post program, which helps sustain the technology for future seasons.

“We put down residuals so the weeds don’t get away from us,” Connors says. “And we approach our postemergence applications the same way. They are not a rescue. They are part of our weed control program.”

Troublesome weeds for Connors include waterhemp, shattercane and marestail. Palmer amaranth also is in the area.

Don’t give weeds an edge
Connors wants a weed control system that can go where the weeds are. When wind conditions allow, he likes the ability to spray Enlist herbicides to the field’s edge – a vital part of his weed control plan. He knows that if he used a registered over-the-top dicamba herbicide on dicamba-tolerant soybeans, he would have to leave a larger 240-foot downwind buffer – 310 feet in areas where listed endangered species are located – when applied at the half-pound rate.

“It’s foolish to spray your field but not the borders where the weed seed is,” says Connors, who has used the LibertyLink® system previously. With tolerance to 2,4-D choline, glyphosate and glufosinate – the active ingredient in Liberty® herbicide – Enlist E3 soybeans are his choice moving forward.

Connors’ advice to other farmers: “Let’s not ruin this technology. Don’t cut rates for Enlist One and Enlist Duo herbicides. Follow the label.”

The transgenic soybean event in Enlist E3 soybeans is jointly developed and owned by Dow AgroSciences LLC and MS Technologies, LLC. Liberty is a registered trademark of BASF.

 

Tom Connors

Enlist crop
Soybeans

Problem weeds
Waterhemp, shattercane, marestail

Management practices
Strip-till