More challenges may be emerging as a result of the warmer weather this winter. Overgrown weeds, spurred by the mild winter, may create a tough challenge this season, say researchers at Purdue University. Typically, weeds are inactive through the winter, but, this year, they have continued to grow throughout the traditionally cold months. Uncontrolled weeds can create a slew of setbacks for this year’s crop.
Consistently warmer temperatures allow winter annuals to germinate. When these annuals have had a lot of growth through the winter—growth that doesn’t usually happen during those months—the soil takes longer to dry and warm up due to weed cover. Consequently, cold, wet soil and overgrown weeds can create several unpleasant problems:
· Makes it difficult to get sprayers out for burndown treatments
· Hinders seed germination
· Delays crop production
· Encourages insect populations that live off of these weeds
According to Ohio State and Purdue Extension specialists, marestail is going to be especially problematic for soybean growers this season. Particularly in Ohio, marestail is one of the most abundant and herbicide-resistant weeds that growers deal with.
The best solution is to take action early. Assess the size of the weeds, and if fields are dry enough by early spring, begin a paraquat-based burndown treatment, such as Gramoxone® brand herbicides. And to take a proactive approach to early-season weeds, an application of a pre-emergence residual herbicide, such as Prefix® herbicide, can offer up to five weeks of yield protection through control of highly competitive broadleaf and grass weeds.
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