For plenty of reasons — lack of time, lousy weather or no-till management — some producers may find themselves planting into a bed of weeds this spring. While it’s ideal to start the season with clean fields, we all know ideal doesn’t always happen.
“The worst-case scenario is planting into a field that is thick with large weeds,” says Steve Barnhart, agronomy manager, WinField. “Let’s say it’s May and a farmer had to plant soybeans where giant ragweed was 3 feet tall, and marestail and lambsquarters were 2 feet tall. The odds of being able to control those weeds are very poor. Instead of planting directly into this weed infestation, the farmer would probably have been better off to combine tillage and a herbicide application to clean up the field before planting.”
A slightly better scenario is when weeds aren’t quite so pervasive and can be knocked down with a herbicide application.
A little breathing room
Before planting soybeans or corn, a tank mix of burn down herbicides will help eliminate weeds prior to putting down seed.
“If planting won’t occur for a week or more, a burn down application with a 2,4-D formulation will provide another mode of action, and help deliver a broader spectrum of control and efficacy,” says Barnhart.
The Farmers Grain Company Trusted Agronomy Advisors offer field scouting and consulting services and can provide producers with individualized recommendations.
The rest of this season
Diligent scouting must be on a producers radar for the remainder of the season to manage emerging weeds. You should also watch out for insects such as cutworms and armyworms that were attracted to those early-season weeds. “Just because you made a herbicide application doesn’t mean weeds won’t return,” says Barnhart. The post emergence herbicide applications can help prevent yield reduction due to weed competition or insect damage.
Take steps for next season
Work with the FGC Trusted Agronomy Advisors to create weed-management plans based on the observations made this season, initiate that plan in the fall and continue working it into next spring.
“The key to dealing with many weeds, particularly waterhemp and Palmer amaranth, is to never let them emerge,” says Barnhart. “In most situations, that can be accomplished by using full rates of residual products prior to emergence. With herbicide resistance and tolerance, we need that residual piece to be the core of the program.”