No-Till Weed Wisdom

Don’t let a sudden shift in weed species convince you to bring out the disc.

There’s no question that weed control takes more management with no-tillage.

After attending a number of no-till meetings and conferences, Blair, Neb., no-tiller Tim Andersen knew weeds could be conquered with plenty of good planning before no-tilling.

“A big drawback of no-tillage for many people is having to know what chemical to use for what weed,” says Andersen. “I knew the problems going into this. I also knew what was working for other no-tillers. That really helped.”

Andersen and his father, Merle, started to no-till in 1988 with 50 acres of soybeans. Today, they have 1,500 acres of corn, soybeans and alfalfa in continuous no-till.

Throughout this 11-year period, the Andersens noticed a shift in weed species. Buttonweeds and sunflowers became less of a problem, while dogbane, milkweed and marestail became more prominent in their no-tilled fields.

“No-till weed management means knowing your weeds,” says Tim Andersen. “With conventional tillage, a lot of people will see a new weed in their field and if they don’t know what herbicide to use on it, they will disc. You obviously can’t do that with no-till.”

Keeps Changing.

If you find a crop protectant that does an excellent job of weed control, your work is not done. The Andersens learned this the hard way.

“After using the same herbicide program year after year, you may see certain weeds start to slip through with your current herbicide,” Tim says. “You really need to stay on top of what is going on in your no-till…

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