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Weed-control shift

THE DELAYED 2009 corn and soybean harvest could have implications for weed-control programs this year. Producers in the Midwest raced to complete harvest, leaving little time for fall herbicide applications. “That could mean, depending on how severe the winter weather, producers will deal potentially with more weeds this spring,” says Aaron Hager, University of Illinois Extension.

Growers in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and southern Illinois haven't been able to use fall burndown products, according to Jeff Carpenter, DuPont. So weed control will be added to spring duties, which will bump directly into other fieldwork activities that also are shifted to spring due to the late harvest.

What to do? Carpenter says growers should use herbicides that provide both contact and residual activity when the weather cooperates. “That might mean pushing applications earlier,” he says.

Volunteer corn also may be a bigger problem than usual. “During the past two to three growing seasons, much of the corn lost during harvest would sprout later in the fall and be killed off,” Hager says. “But this year, later harvest will mean those kernels lost during harvest will likely overwinter and wait until spring to germinate.” Plus, less-than-ideal field conditions mean more in-field corn losses and more volunteer corn next year.

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