Ok, let’s be honest, the last thing you want to think about this time of year are the weeds you will battle in the growing season ahead. But the truth is preparing for the weed pressures and building a management plan that is robust, as well as flexible, is every bit as important to your success as trait selection and nutrient planning. It’s about giving your crops a competitive advantage against weeds, delaying the evolution of herbicide resistance and preserving herbicide technology.
You should craft your weed management plan with the notion that it can and should influence multiple growing seasons. Long-term herbicide-resistance management requires an outlook that goes beyond minimizing crop loss in any one season to understanding how your strategy this year can also set you up for success in subsequent years. It requires long-term strategies focused on delaying the evolution of herbicide resistance and reducing weed seed in your fields.
Effective herbicide-resistance management combines a variety of chemical and nonchemical management tactics to diversify selection pressure on weed populations and minimize the spread of resistance genes. Management like this starts with knowing your weeds, almost as well as you understand the crops you raise. It’s about knowing when they grow, when they pollinate and stopping them before they go to seed. It’s about recognizing their strengths and exploiting their weaknesses.
Even the best plans can be foiled by Mother Nature, equipment issues and more. Making a plan that incorporates some flexibility is key to staying on top of weed pressures. Regardless of what the growing season throws at you, the following are some principles that should be guidelines for your weed management plan each year.
- Use full-rates for all pre and post applications
- Attack weeds when they’re under 4 inches
- Use multiple modes of action
- Scout and ID weeds
- Practice zero tolerance on escaped weeds
- Don’t ditch your ditches
- Clean equipment field to field
- Plant cover crops or incorporate tillage if chemical controls have failed
- Re-evaluate and repeat
NCGA is taking a series of actions to do our part to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic fallout it is creating for corn farmers and our customers. Short term, this means instituting policies to protect the health and safety of our stakeholders and the broader communities we serve. Long term, we’re focused on creating solutions to help corn farmers and our customers recover from the financial impacts of this crisis.
CommonGround is a group of farmers connecting with consumers through conversations about science and research and personal stories about food and misinformation surrounding farming. Supported by the NCGA and state corn organizations.
The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health. Administered by NCGA the partnership has more than 220 working farms enrolled in 16 states. SHP’s mission is to utilize science and data to partner with farmers who are adopting conservation agricultural practices that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the farm.