It smells like victory.
Mm-hm. The season is upon us, folks! Can you feel it?
If you haven’t already, you very soon will be planting what we all hope will be a successful crop. Some of y’all though are already (already!) second-guessing your plans, particularly your plans to spray for weeds. I’ve talked with a lot of you lately, and many producers tell me they don’t know why they’re spraying or that they’re going to wait to spray because there just isn’t much out there in the fields right now.
I say don’t second-guess yourself. The horizon might not yet be flush with weeds to your knees, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Take a stroll out into a field, and stick your face a little closer to the dirt. Very likely, you’ll see more weeds than you expected to see.
(This goes for insects, too. Although the season is young, we’ve already seen treatable levels in some of our wheat fields, and now with the warmer weather and the greening up of our alfalfa acres, we should expect to see more and more widespread.)
Whether it’s an insect or a weed that you’re going after though, they share one important point in common: they are problems best treated when they are small, in number and/or size.
So do yourself a big ol’ favor and go take a look at your fields before planting. It is 100 times easier to kill a weed problem before crop emergence than after, when the weeds have been growing alongside the crop for weeks. You know well that an itty bitty corn plant is so much more delicate than a bigger one. The same goes for weeds.
Letting weeds hang out for a few weeks before spraying also means letting them rob moisture from your crop for a few weeks before spraying. Because weeds need moisture, too, and they’re dang good at taking it away from our plants. Considering how dry our winter was, soil moisture is at a special premium as we kick off the 2015 season and another good reason to nip a weed problem in the bud ASAP.
Taking care of your weed or insect problem while they’re small as can be is winning the battle before it even starts. Sock it to ‘em early, and they’ll waive the white flag at you, maybe even for the rest of the season, letting you breathe a bit easier and focus on the plants that should be getting your attention: your crop.