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6 tips to avoid herbicide carryover damage in cover crops6 tips to avoid herbicide carryover damage in cover crops

Crops Corner: Pay attention to what and when you sprayed when selecting cover crops.

Tom Bechman 1

August 29, 2016

2 Min Read

Seeding time is the make or break period for cover crop success. One issue affecting seeding success is whether or not carryover from herbicides applied for corn or soybeans impacts germination and establishment of the cover crop.

Three Indiana Certified Crop Advisers put their heads together to provide six tips to help minimize herbicide carryover issues in cover crops. They are: Betsy Bower, agronomist, Ceres Solutions, Terre Haute; Dan Ritter, agronomist, Brodbeck Seeds, Rensselaer; and Brian Shrader, accounts manager, DuPont Pioneer, Marion.

1. Check out an excellent resource guide.


Penn State University Extension weed scientists Bill Curan and Dwight Lingenfelter developed a handy information sheet that indicates which cover crops could be impacted by various herbicides.

For example, according to the chart, if you’re following only glyphosate, all cover crop species are OK to plant. Following Python, there is concern for small-seeded legumes and mustards.

2. Determine which cover crop species you are considering.

“In most cases, you can plant many of the cereal grains and most grasses after most grass and broadleaf herbicides in corn,” Bower says. “However, small-seeded legumes and mustards have a little more sensitivity.”

3. Recognize that herbicide choices are already made for this year.

You may need to choose cover crops based on the herbicide selections you made in the spring for this year, Bower says. “In following years, you can plan and choose your herbicide based on your cover crop choice. But remember, we still need to control weeds in our cash crop.”

4. Check with local Extension personnel.

The Penn State guide is complete and useful, Ritter notes. However, there may be tweaks from state to state. He recommends checking with your local Extension office to see what Purdue University Extension specialists might be saying about potential carryover with certain herbicides.

5. Consider the interval between herbicide application and harvest.

Many soybean fields needed rescue treatments in some areas this year, Shrader notes. Some of those went on late due to weather delays. That may affect when it is safe to plant specific cover crops this fall. Bower says there is also a difference in whether you’re interseeding with a high-clearance machine or seeding after harvest. That also affects the interval between herbicide application and seeding.

6. The herbicide label should be the final word.

Evaluate every herbicide you applied for carryover interval to cover crops, Shrader suggests. The information you need to know should be clearly stated on each herbicide label for any product you applied earlier this year.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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