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Weed Watch: Scout fields now

Slideshow: Extended planting season presents weed control concerns.

Kevin Schulz, Editor

May 21, 2024

13 Slides

The 2024 planting season was off to a good start, and then much-needed rains came. Not only did the rains halt planting progress, delay in spring fieldwork also possibly derailed the best-laid plans for the season’s weed control.

On May 8, University of Minnesota Extension kicked off its season of Strategic Farming: Field Notes webinar series with Debalin Sarangi, Extension weed scientist, and Bruce Potter, Integrated Pest Management specialist at the Southwest Research and Outreach Center at Lamberton, discussing weed and insect management challenges.

Weeds present challenges every year, but an extended growing season such as this year creates new challenges.

Following the May 8 webinar, Liz Stahl, U-M Extension crops educator based in Worthington, wrote that most farmers look to preemergence herbicides as the base for weed management program. She wrote that the use of preemergence herbicides is encouraged in part due to the prevalence of weeds resistant to one or more of commonly used postemergence herbicides. The residual activity they provide is also key in controlling weeds like waterhemp, which emerges over an extended period of time and later into the season.

While rainfall is needed to activate preemergence herbicides, Stahl points out that farmers are now wondering: If they have been able to plant and apply a preemergence herbicide earlier, how long will that herbicide last?

In the webinar, Sarangi reports residual activity typically lasts three to four weeks after application, meaning products may be running out of steam in fields where crops were planted mid-April. Under the current conditions, it is recommended that farmers prepare to apply postemergent products early, possibly adding a chloroacetamide (Group 15) herbicide like Dual, Warrant or Outlook, to postemergence applications will help extend herbicide residual activity.

Field scouting is always important, and maybe more so this year due to the extended planting season. Thomas Peters, Extension sugarbeet agronomist and weed control specialist at North Dakota State University and U-M; Tom Hoverstad, agronomist with the U-M Southern Research and Outreach Center at Waseca; and Ryan Miller, U-M Extension crops educator in Rochester, scouted fields and offered visuals of emerging weeds farmers need to have on their radar.

Click through the weed identification slideshow.

About the Author(s)

Kevin Schulz

Editor, The Farmer

Kevin Schulz joined The Farmer as editor in January of 2023, after spending two years as senior staff writer for Dakota Farmer and Nebraska Farmer magazines. Prior to joining these two magazines, he spent six years in a similar capacity with National Hog Farmer. Prior to joining National Hog Farmer, Schulz spent a long career as the editor of The Land magazine, an agricultural-rural life publication based in Mankato, Minn.

During his tenure at The Land, the publication grew from covering 55 Minnesota counties to encompassing the entire state, as well as 30 counties in northern Iowa. Covering all facets of Minnesota and Iowa agriculture, Schulz was able to stay close to his roots as a southern Minnesota farm boy raised on a corn, soybean and hog finishing farm.

One particular area where he stayed close to his roots is working with the FFA organization.

Covering the FFA programs stayed near and dear to his heart, and he has been recognized for such coverage over the years. He has received the Minnesota FFA Communicator of the Year award, was honored with the Minnesota Honorary FFA Degree in 2014 and inducted into the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame in 2018.

Schulz attended South Dakota State University, majoring in agricultural journalism. He was also a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and now belongs to its alumni organization.

His family continues to live on a southern Minnesota farm near where he grew up. He and his wife, Carol, have raised two daughters: Kristi, a 2014 University of Minnesota graduate who is married to Eric Van Otterloo and teaches at Mankato (Minn.) East High School, and Haley, a 2018 graduate of University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She is married to John Peake and teaches in Hayward, Wis. 

When not covering the agriculture industry on behalf of The Farmer's readers, Schulz enjoys spending time traveling with family, making it a quest to reach all 50 states — 47 so far — and three countries. He also enjoys reading, music, photography, playing basketball, and enjoying nature and campfires with friends and family.

[email protected]

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