When Ryan Vaksdal accidentally chips a piece of sod with his iron shot during his weekly golf game, he makes sure to put it back or throw some grass seed in its place. He shows that same level of care for the soil he farms.
The sixth-generation farmer, who grows corn and Enlist E3® soybeans near Beresford, South Dakota, considers repairing his divots equal to pulling soil samples and ensuring his soil fertility remains on par.
“As farmers, we believe we’re good stewards of the land, and I pride myself on that,” Vaksdal says. “About 10 years ago, we switched to strip tillage to ensure our nutrients were placed in the soil versus on top of the soil.”
The Enlist® weed control system aligns with his desire to be a good steward of the land. “With Enlist, I’m not harming non-tolerant crops or my neighbors’ crops, and it provides excellent weed control,” he says.
In his first year with Enlist E3 soybeans, Vaksdal planted a few fields to test the weed control system on his farm.
“I dipped my toe in the water in 2020 and I was impressed right out of the gate. The yield has been phenomenal, so I have no complaints,” he says. “Enlist adds simplicity to our postemergence soybean weed control program. It’s very effective weed control, and it just works.”
The benefits of the Enlist system include the ability to tank-mix Enlist One® herbicide with ammonium sulfate (AMS) and Liberty® herbicide to achieve optimum control of waterhemp and lambsquarters, Vaksdal’s most troublesome weeds.
“In the past, using some of the older chemistries, you would think you did a good job, and then you’d walk your field two weeks later and those weeds were again going strong,” he says.
Before converting to the Enlist system, Vaksdal stayed awake some nights worrying that neighbors would call claiming he damaged their crops, even though he knew he had followed all label requirements. “I needed a game plan ready to handle those situations. That was too much of a hassle,” Vaksdal says. “I know a lot of guys don’t do that, but that’s not being a good steward. That’s not respecting your neighbors.”
To test the power and advantages of Enlist One herbicide, Vaksdal sprayed a field adjacent to a patch of alfalfa, a compatible crop with Enlist herbicides. “I had zero issues. I could spray right alongside of the alfalfa with a direct application, 6 inches away. There was zero damage,” he recalls.
He also touts the simplicity of the Enlist weed control system for soybean production.
“It’s simpler to use than the other system. With the dicamba system, there are minimal days you can spray and that poses a challenge. In my opinion, the risk wasn’t worth the reward,” Vaksdal says. “As farmers, we’re under the microscope. Using chemistry that volatilizes and moves off target is not being a good steward of the land. That was a big part of why we chose to switch to the Enlist system.”
Vaksdal meets regularly with his agronomist to develop fertility and prescription crop protection plans and to select hybrids and varieties.
His teamwork mindset carries over to the seed he purchases. Vaksdal is a seed dealer with Hoegemeyer Hybrids, and he conducts local variety trials to help him and his customers make better hybrid and variety selections. He figures the more information and knowledge he gathers, the more power he has to make sound decisions.
“Enlist has worked flawlessly for me. If I could improve my golf game like I did my weed control, I’d be on the tour,” Vaksdal adds. “Golf is definitely a competitive sport, but you have to take it with a grain of salt, just like with farming and Mother Nature. When it rains and you don’t want it, and when it doesn’t rain when you need it, you just know you have to roll with the punches.”
® Liberty is a registered trademark of BASF. The transgenic soybean event in Enlist E3® soybeans is jointly developed and owned by Corteva Agriscience LLC and MS Technologies, L.L.C. Enlist Duo® and Enlist One® herbicides are not registered for sale or use in all states or counties. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your area. Enlist Duo and Enlist One are the only 2,4-D products authorized for use with Enlist® crops. Consult Enlist herbicide labels for weed species controlled. Always read and follow label directions.