Herbicides used as harvest aids are applied at crop maturity to desiccate weed and crop foliage. Weeds present in the harvested crop can increase moisture content and foreign material, reducing grade and market price. Weeds can also delay the harvest operation and reduce harvest efficiency. Glyphosate can be used to desiccate weeds in glyphosate-resistant crops without concern for crop injury. Carfentrazone and pyraflufen-ethyl used as harvest aids can be effective in desiccating broadleaf weeds in corn and soybean. Paraquat, although effective on grass and broadleaf weeds when applied late season, can cause significant crop injury if applied too early. With expanded production of early maturing soybean cultivars in the mid-South (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri bootheel, and west Tennessee), presence of green stems, green pods, or green leaf retention, or combinations of these at harvest has increased. Interest in harvest aids has shifted to use as a crop desiccant. Paraquat also is an effective soybean desiccant, but application timing differs for indeterminate and determinate cultivars. Paraquat applied after soybean seed reached physiological maturity reduced number of green stems, pods, and retained green leaves present, allowing harvest to proceed 1 to 2 wk earlier than nontreated soybean. Seed moisture, foreign material, and seed damage also were reduced when paraquat was applied.
Nomenclature: Corn, Zea mays L.; soybean, Glycine max (L.) Merr.