Weed specialists have forecasted high weed pressure in wheat this growing season as weather conditions have caused rapid weed seed movement across the Wheat Belt.
Light snow and high winds resulted in an increase in seed movement throughout the winter. A couple of inches of snow or minimal rainfall in March or April will provide moisture and give the weed seeds a base to germinate, says Abe Smith, market development specialist, Dow AgroSciences. As a result, wheat growers could see a higher volume of weed pressure early in the growing season.
“We had unseasonably warm temperatures, and if we get late-season precipitation from snow, fields will be set up to have a large influx of small weeds germinating early in the season,” Smith said. “Growers should prepare to cut weeds off at the pass and start the season with clean fields.”
With an anticipated increase in weed pressure, scouting is especially important. Smith urges growers to watch for winter annuals and early germinating weeds that can compete with crops at planting. Spring wheat growers might see more kochia, in particular, across the Northern Plains this season because of its prolific seed production and the tumbleweed nature of its seed distribution, Smith says.
“Kochia is a tough weed to control because it produces a lot of seeds,” he said. “We’re also starting to see glyphosate-resistant populations, so we have to make sure growers are selecting the right herbicides to address those.”
Once growers scout fields and identify weeds, selecting the right herbicide program is vital to protect yield potential, Smith says. It’s critical to consider multiple modes of action for resistance management, crop rotation flexibility, weed spectrum and application timing when planning a herbicide program.
Application timing is important for effective control of high-anxiety weeds, such as mustard species, foxtail, Palmer amaranth and kochia. For ideal control of kochia, apply herbicides when weeds are about four inches tall, Smith says.
“The winter weather conditions may result in greater challenges for wheat growers this spring, but with the right herbicide program, growers can mitigate weed pressure, start the season with clean fields and maximize their yield potential,” said Sara Kinsell, cereals herbicides product manager, Dow AgroSciences.
Dow offers GoldSky herbicide for weed control, and the herbicide also provides rotational flexibility that allows growers to plant barley, field corn, grasses, dry beans, canola, sugarbeets and sunflowers nine months after an application, Kinsell explained. Dow AgroSciences. GoldSky can be applied from three-leaf to jointing stage, which is a period of early-season weed control.