In the Weeds

In the Weeds from Central Valley Ag on Vimeo.

by Mike Zwingman

by Mike Zwingman

I’ve spent the last few articles writing about relationships for good reason, but based on some simple observations and more than a few conversations, some you good people are in the weeds—literally—so back to agronomics we go…

Weed control is the major frustration of the week.  People on the outside of our industry look in and say things like “super weed” and like to scold us all for harsh chemistries of the past that have begotten the harsher chemistries of today (which isn’t actually all that correct really, but that’s for a different article).  But in actuality, weeds are just pretty adaptive organisms, which is what makes them tough to beat.  Some of them will even adapt to tillage cycles for crying out loud.

It’s a good time to talk with your Central Valley Ag Field Sales Agronomist about the would have/should have of your weed management this season.  It’s a window into what you might do next season to prevent finding yourself here again in 2017.  Because a third pass or a rescue treatment is a real kick in the gut of your bottom line.  As if you need to be reminded of that…

To help you get going with that daydreaming, let’s revisit in brief some basics of good weed management:

  1. When you’re dealing with winter annuals and other tough-to-control weeds, do something about them this fall to get a head start on the suckers. It seems almost inevitable that even the best laid spring plans are foiled by weather.  Additionally, even tough weeds are relatively easily controlled in the winter with just a dose of action and discipline.
  2. In the early spring, lay down a residual to keep your fields clean. It’s the way to cap off said winter of action and discipline.
  3. None of this negates or nullifies your usual post- application, which is the coup de grace of the whole shebang.

In addition to this process, don’t forget the importance of other details involving chemistries and application.  As you know, different herbicides have different modes of action: match this kind of specific to your specific weeds, then rotate and layer to inhibit a weed’s ability to adapt.  There are no new ingredients for herbicides on the horizon, so we need to learn to use what we have and use it effectively.  Regarding application, the same specificity will serve you well.  You apply, Liberty, for example, differently than you apply glyphosate and an HPPD application is different than a dicamba application.  Droplet size, pressure, and weed height and size vary among all these examples.  Attention to such details however has become a lost art.  Resurrect it.

Untitled-2And for the love of your mother, two final principles of basic management: 1) spray while weeds are small.  Please.  2) If you’re looking at a historically problematic field, it is still problematic, I promise you.  Don’t allow yourself the magical thinking that the mess of weeds that occurred there last year might just forget to come back this year.  They won’t.

Those are the basics, but while you’re at that conversation with your FSA, you might also drift into talk about cover crops, changing your row spacing, and/or adjusting your tillage operation.  These things are all next level, but they might be worth the conversation in case they could add to your management potential.