Wheat growers need help in assessing resistant weeds
Scout with a Watchful Eye
There is also no substitute for careful, timely observation and scouting to keep resistant weeds from spreading. Be sure to clean tillage, seeding and harvest equipment when leaving fields with herbicide-resistant weeds to keep them from moving to other acres. “Be familiar enough with your fields to catch resistant biotypes early, and be aware of minor or major changes, like green streaks where seed has fallen,” Howatt said. Awareness of field history and yield impact, a watchful eye and a proactive management program will help growers save money and hassle in the long run.
Rotate Crops and Think Tillage
Cultural management options to help thwart resistance are tillage and crop rotation. Cereal crops rotated with crops like buckwheat, clovers and/or alfalfa can help keep weeds from adapting to a certain environment, making more control options available. These crops obstruct weeds, release natural weed-killing chemicals and simultaneously improve soil structure, prevent erosion and offer crop nutrients.
While no-till systems improve soil health and save farming costs, they can also enable perennial weeds to flourish. Howatt recommends delayed seeding to ensure adequate time to kill weeds with a burndown herbicide first.
To help meet the challenge, Syngenta has a diverse portfolio of cereal herbicides to meet the weed control needs of each field and help farmers grow more wheat. To help avoid additions to the seed bank, consider a burndown herbicide in addition to an in-season application of a postemergence herbicide. “Axial XL will typically provide the best control for wild oat, and is likely still controlling these resistant populations,” said Howatt. “It is still critical to rotate to other herbicides so that it remains effective,” he added.
Crop consultants and ag retailer agronomists need to check out the old and new chemistries for weed control because new ones have been coming onto the market, as Syngenta has noted about its line-up of products. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each and every one of them is important when talking to customers and requires investing some time by trained agronomists.
Syngenta has made it a standard practice to include management information and the mode of action group number on its product labels to help everyone remain ahead of resistance. As winter 2012 sets in and planning begins for the next growing season, remember that diversity is key in any resistance management program, Syngenta stresses. Refrain from heavy reliance on any one method of control to set the stage for strong, robust crops and profitable returns for years to come.