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Tough year for weed control even in corn fields in some places

Tough year for weed control even in corn fields in some places
Wet season made it hard for spraying, preventing weeds from coming back, and more.

Pete Illingworth gets a paycheck from Purdue University no matter how crops turn out. Otherwise he thinks like a farmer, and takes pride in keeping fields clean and producing good crops. He operates equipment and makes repairs at the Purdue Throckmorton Research farm.

The lighter colored material in this shot is foxtail, dead from frost, but showing up where corn wasn't as tall, and more light got in late in the season. It was linked to wet spots.

He also does most of the actual field work on the Indiana Prairie Farmer and Purdue University plot each year. This year the plot compared different planter adjustments that could affect depth, and also compared two hybrids across two soil types. It's still early to tell if there were any effects from those. However, harvest is over and despite half the plot being on flat, poorly drained land, combined final yield for all plots over both hybrids corrected to dry moisture will be somewhere above 205 bushels per acre.

That doesn't mean Illingworth didn't experience problems and challenges for weed control. "We rely heavily on post sprays here because this part of the farm is also used for horticultural crops sometimes," he explains. "The weeds and corn got to the height where even though it was raining and soils were staying tacky to wet, I couldn't wait any longer," he says.

While he didn't create ruts in most places, it was wetter than he liked for spraying, Illingworth says. However, the application did a good job controlling weeds. Most of the field was clean. But in the lowest, wettest locations, spme foxtail was present at harvest.

"It came back in, especially where corn was short," he says. "It was clean for a while then the foxtail came back.

Besides these issues, he also saw issues with herbicide injury from a previous herbicide application the year before in some fields. In this particular plot, there was little or no damage. But in a plot next door planted two weeks earlier, there was enough damage that part of it had to be replanted.

"The extra rains which delayed planting here must have moved enough of it out that this field wasn't affected," he says. "Both fields were sprayed with the same herbicide the year before."

He says he is now paying more attention to what was applied and when it was applied before giving input on what fields can be planted to which crops and when.

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