With grain prices still at a stagnant level and margins thin for many farmers, keeping weeds at bay — and doing so as efficiently as possible — will be as critical as ever to protecting yields.
Farmers don’t have control over much of anything in the markets, but what you do have control over is your field management, and that includes scouting and putting a weed program with diverse modes and sites of action in place.
Due diligence with scouting and spraying has paid off for Darren Nelson, who with is father, Jim, no-tills about 2,000 acres of winter wheat, double-cropped and full-season soybeans, grain sorghum (milo) and some corn near Hutchinson, Kan.
Darren told me recently they had about 1 weed per acre at harvest last year, which he guesses were all herbicide resistant. While some no-tillers complain about difficulties controlling marestail, the Nelsons say they’ve pretty much eradicated that weed by using residuals when planting soybeans.
“When you mix metribuzin and Paraquat, that weed is going away. Nothing will make it through that,” Darren says.
Palmer amaranth is the biggest weed problem on their farm and it’s not even close, Darren says. However, they’ve still had success controlling it with glyphosate, making sure water quality is good and coming back to trouble spots to pull weeds by hand or using a hand sprayer to treat escapes.
Unsure if they could keep their fields that clean again this year, and not wanting weed resistance to take a turn for the worse, they’re switching to Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, featuring glyphosate and dicamba tolerant traits.
“We’re probably not going to get hurt with much with the variety changes so we’ll just do it and not worry about it,” he says.
What are some of the biggest weed issues you’re dealing with, and how are you controlling the problem? We’d like to know — feel free to drop me a line.