Extreme weather conditions are a fact-of-life for farmers. Such conditions bring to mind the old farming adage, “A dry year will scare you to death but a wet year will kill you.”
While dry weather is likely to reduce yields, it is unlikely to impact quality. Wet weather is a different story and can lead to mold and plant disease. Further, it can lead to the development of late-season weeds which result in extra challenges in the coming year.
So, what’s a farmer to do? The key is to gain control of the growing weed seed banks present in your fields. To do so you must pinpoint what weeds are growing and their level of resistance. Excess rain is one reason weeds are able to flourish but there are other reasons, as well, so it is important to avoid chalking it off to weather before doing your due diligence.
Regardless of whether you have seen too much rain or not enough, you still must look for patterns of weeds in your fields. Something as simple as a clogged nozzle, for instance, could be to blame if only one or two rows are weedy in each sprayer pass. However, if you find only one or two types of weeds throughout your field it is probably a resistance issue. In that case, you would be well to send tissue samples for resistance testing. While it is understandable that you automatically assume resistance, that is not always the case.
Likewise, don’t just decide that a few weed escapes are inevitable. Just one escape can produce thousands of seeds that can stick around for years. Escapes also mean a seed bank can build up, and lead to new herbicide resistance. To avoid this, consider less space between rows or a residual herbicide with a post-emergent application.
No matter what method of weed control you focus on, it is crucial to reduce seed spread. To that end, always clean your combine after passing through weedy fields or save weedy fields for the last pass. If you are still within the herbicide window, you might want to consider a herbicide application.
Finally, although no weed is a good weed, if you are finding the most prolific weeds in your fields at the end of the season—for example, giant ragweed, marestail or waterhemp—you need to be especially proactive.
Contact Terning Seeds today to get more growing tips!