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Corn spraying under way near Milnor, ND

Geoff Lien, who farms with his father, Marshall Lien, and a cousin, Kasey Lien, near Milnor, N.D., was spraying corn on May 29, and keeping a hopeful eye out for rain. Photo taken May 29, 2018, near Milnor, N.D. Mikkel Pates / Forum News Service1 / 4
Geoff Lien farms with his father, Marshall Lien, and a cousin, Kasey Lien, near Milnor, N.D. Photo taken May 29, 2018, near Milnor, N.D. Mikkel Pates / Forum News Service2 / 4
The Lien family had applied their first herbicide to about half of their corn on May 29, as farmers in southeast North Dakota are entering the busy spraying season. Photo taken May 29, 2018, near Milnor, N.D. Mikkel Pates / Forum News Service3 / 4
Corn was standing about four inches tall but in need of rain west of Milnor, N.D., on May 29.Photo taken May 29, 2018, near Milnor, N.D. Mikkel Pates / Forum News Service4 / 4

MILNOR, N.D. — Geoff Lien was spraying corn west of Milnor, keeping an eye on the western sky for rain that would be welcome, even if it would slow his spraying progress.

Lien works on a farm owned by his father, Marshall Lien, and a cousin, Kasey Lien, all of Milnor. The families raise corn and soybeans. Planting schedules were a bit behind, but some stretches of favorable conditions allowed the family to get crops in.

"We're all finished up, just trying to get caught up on spraying," Lien said on Tuesday, May 29. He was applying Armezon PRO, Roundup and atrazine to corn to control a wide spectrum of broadleaf and grassy weeds, estimating that half of the farm's corn acreage had been sprayed.

"Hopefully we'll only have to do this once," Lien says. "It depends on the weather — rains — and whether they can get this activated," he said.

Farmers in this part of southeastern North Dakota were pretty much wrapped up with seeding. They had a few tenths of an inch to nearly three-quarters of an inch. Some have gotten good rains, others not so much. "We're still in good shape," he said, even though rain would be welcome.

Lien said all of his farm's soybeans were Xtend, bred for resistance to new dicamba herbicide formulations that were problematic for some off-target recipients last year.

The Liens used the dicamba technology. Lien said the family didn't have problems with off-target dicamba last year. "We're hoping to get an early treatment of dicamba on," Lien said. "Some of them that we know can't get it on because neighboring fields have put pre-emerge on. We've got to start spraying those (soybeans) as soon as we finish the corn."

He thinks some people are more optimistic in 2018 that dicamba won't be a problem. "I'm hoping," he said. "It's a little bit better than last year, knowing that we know a little more about what to do." He thought more dicamba-resistant beans may have been planted in 2018, but said there still are a fair amount of Liberty beans in the area, and some Roundup-ready beans in the area.

After last year's concerns, Lien thinks farmers will put it on a little earlier, at lower temperatures. "Watch the drift," he said, adding, "Now that everybody is aware of what it can do, hopefully it gets better. We're hoping for better results now that everybody knows."

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