Are the weeds ready for you?
Gary Quam, Agronomy Sales, St Charles
The crops you are planting need to go into a clean field and stay in a clean field. Consider them invited guests at your house and you have a full refrigerator and freshly made bed. Your crop will flourish without having to compete with the unwanted guests (weeds). This goal can be attained with an effective tillage practice or a burndown herbicide application prior to planting. If you are planting into a weedy field, you are already behind the eight-ball before you start and you might never be able to catch up.
So, what is your plan to keep weeds out of your field this season? I recommend using herbicides with residuals that will give you an extended window of protection. Make sure the herbicides will be effective on your target weeds. Once you have decided on the herbicide, please do not cheat yourself by applying a reduced or half rate. This is especially important in a post-emergence applications. There are some herbicide resistant weeds already in our area. Proper chemical selection and rates for these pesky weeds is crucial. If a doctor wrote you a prescription, you would not cut the pill in half and expect to get better. Use labeled rates and the desired outcome can be expected.
I am sure you have heard about residuals and modes of action with chemicals. Both of these are important in weed management. Residuals are a great way to get weed control for extended amounts of time. By applying a residual pre-plant or pre-emergence, you are protecting your investment from the start. Following that application with another application in a post-emergence application with another chemical with a residual will give you season long control with overlapping residuals. The second application needs to be applied early enough to allow the two chemicals to overlap your protection. Do not leave your field unprotected and allow those unwanted visitors to return. The more modes of action in a chemical program, the greater success you will have.
Another big factor that comes into play with herbicide programs is timing. Consider weeds in your field as an uninvited guest at your house. It can be okay if they are there for a night or two, but when they have been eating your food and messing up your house for a week, it is time for them to go. The longer they stay, the harder it is to get them to leave. Do not let weeds rob your crop of their food and water. The best way to do this is by not letting them in your house in the first place.
2016 is going to be a great season. Please ask your agronomist at Progressive Ag Center if you have any questions going into this season. It is not too late to be prepared for those unwanted guests. A thought out chemical program will give you protection from those guests that do not have your permission to sleep on your couch and eat your food. Progressive Ag Center can help you with a plan to keep your fields clean in 2016.