Fickle winter weather favors shifting weeds
Weather and weed forecasts
In the PNW, Syngenta agronomic service representative Donald Drader from Washington is seeing similar weather patterns. “The weather this year has been cold,” he says, “with less than average snow fall to date. Hopefully we can anticipate some additional precipitation as the weather warms up so we have adequate soil moisture.”
Drader explains that wheat growers in the PNW are monitoring their fields for tough-to-control grasses such as wild oat and Italian ryegrass. Since grasses are showing increased resistance to Group 1 herbicides, Drader says, “Wheat growers need to look for additional tactics to manage their resistant grasses in the fall. In addition to their crop rotations and fall tillage practices, they may want to make an application of burndown products, such as Touchdown brand herbicides or Gramoxone SL 2.0 herbicide after the grasses have germinated, but prior to wheat emergence. They can also utilize fall-applied herbicides with different modes of action and follow up in the spring with grass herbicides like Axial XL and Sierra, or a grass-broadleaf herbicide like Axial Star.
He adds, “Broadleaf weeds are also being carefully watched, especially in areas with high resistance. Growers and retailers are doing an excellent job of tank mixing two or more broadleaf herbicides to control a wide spectrum of different weeds.” Weeds to watch for in the PNW include: wild oat, foxtails, Italian ryegrass and brome grasses.
Investing in the future to grow more wheat
Herold also encourages growers to keep an open mind about cultural practices, such as tillage and crop rotation to stop resistance from evolving. “Tillage is definitely something to consider, though it depends on the area and the moisture.” Herold says growers should consider adding it to their program, not necessarily every year, but as a part of the long term plan. “We are relying on one solution when we should be looking at them all,” she explains. “We need to blend in more cultural practices to find an innovative approach for the challenges the coming years will bring.”
This winter’s fluctuating temperatures and inconsistent snow cover are complicating weed management plans for spring, however regardless of geographic region, wheat growers are focusing on similar strategies. While a large part of planning spring weed management has been learning from the challenges and successes of the past, in recent years growers have been pushed to incorporate new solutions to growing problems like kochia management and herbicide resistance.