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Mississippi research shows tillage can break up cycle of weed, disease problems

Fall soybean field prep for spring success. Research supported by the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board.

As combines continue to roll through Mississippi soybean fields, Mississippi soybean researchers want farmers to keep in mind a few steps that should be taken to make next spring a little easier.

For Delta production systems where no-till is not commonly practiced, Tom Eubank, Mississippi State University Assistant Professor at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, Miss., provides some helpful fall weed management guidelines.

“We’re encouraging farmers to practice postharvest weed control to prevent weed seed production,” explains Eubank. “A big thing is taking time to put a disk in the field. Get beds prepared for spring, and then consider applying residual herbicides. We discourage herbicide-only applications after harvest because tillage complements herbicides in the prevention of further herbicide resistance development. In instances where a no-till system is used, an herbicide may be the only option to control postharvest weeds.”

Fall represents a critical time to battle herbicide-resistant weeds such as Italian ryegrass and horseweed as well as hard to control weeds like henbit. Based on findings from research supported by the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board (MSPB), Eubank recommends that fields with such problems be tilled and then have a residual applied in the fall. This may not eradicate the weeds, but those that do emerge will be smaller and easier to manage in the spring. Eubank adds that fall tillage may also help break up the soil surface and reduce disease and insect pressure in the field the following spring.

While digging into the soil, Eubank suggests that farmers also take soil samples and have the soil tested for fertility and pH.

“Soil fertility is a much overlooked input,” adds Eubank. “It is the foundation and backbone of the agricultural system. If we don’t take care of the soil nutrients and pH and keep them in balance, we are setting ourselves up for reduced yields.”

For more information on the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board, visit and follow Twitter at!/MSSOY.


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