Tough weeds have delivered a powerful punch lately. New weed control systems are coming on board, but how can you use all the weapons at your disposal to conquer weeds this year? Dan Childs says it starts with a battle plan.
Childs, a Hoosier native, is a weed management technology development representative for Monsanto. He suggests taking these six steps to begin preparing for weed control this season.
1. Examine your crop rotations. There may be economic pressure to grow soybeans after soybeans. Childs suggests looking at weed pressure first. “If the field has a history of tough weeds like Palmer amaranth or waterhemp, you might consider going to corn,” he says. “There are more herbicide options in corn.”
2. Develop a comprehensive plan for controlling tough weeds in soybeans. Residual herbicides will likely be part of that plan, Childs says. They can control weeds early.
3. Choose an effective burndown application in no-till. You will likely want to include residual herbicides with the burndown pass.
4. Figure on two to three trips across the field if you have difficult weeds. Most people will need at least one trip to apply residual herbicides and another to apply postemergence materials, Childs says.
5. Catch weeds while they’re small. Many weeds are tough to control once they get taller than 4 to 6 inches, Childs says. Make timely post applications part of your plan.
6. Develop a timely scouting plan. Try this: Set an alarm on your phone for three weeks out from planting, Childs suggests. Go assess the field. Hopefully residuals are still working, but planned scouting is crucial.
Editor’s note: We’ve prepared many articles on weed control to help you as you put these plans together. We hope you can use the information and resources provided to develop an effective strategic plan.