Time to Turn Our Attention to Early Season Weed Control


It’s time to turn our attention to early season weed management.  It’s important for farmers to walk fields right after emergence and at least once weekly thereafter, so they can keep ahead of the insect and weed pressure.

Be on the lookout for large-seeded weeds like giant ragweed, sunflower and cocklebur.  These weeds are always tough to control and should never be allowed to get established.  There were several weed species that took advantage of the early warm temperatures and got an early start: lambsquarters, waterhemp and other pigweeds.  Check your fields as soon as possible to see how successful your weed control measures have been.

Additional measures like increased rates of post-emergent herbicides, spot-spraying or even hand weeding may be necessary to keep these from becoming an ongoing problem.  I’ve also noticed a lot of foxtail and other grasses as well as volunteer corn starting to show up in area fields.  Now’s the time to be scouting your fields for these potential problems so that you stay ahead of them in your efforts to keep your fields clean.

Existing weed vegetation should be controlled with tillage, herbicides, or a combination of tactics, so the crop can become well established under weed-free conditions. Early-season weeds rob yields you cannot see at harvest. Crops have a better chance of reaching optimal yield when they’re not competing with weeds for sunlight, water and nutrients.

Walking fields and noting where there is weed pressure will help you determine an action plan.  Take field notes and indicate where you’re seeing the pressure.  Depending on your findings, you may need to change modes of action.  Weed resistance is a growing concern.  Literally.  That’s why Latham Hi-Tech Seeds offers farmers choices.

Be proactive and manage your weeds before they become a problem.  Also manage herbicide resistance before it becomes a major problem.  Know what herbicides you are using, what they control as well as what they do not control, what replant restrictions exist and whether there is significant potential for crop injury.