05/20/2022 Spring Weed Control

A wet, late spring is making it hard for some North Dakota farmers to start planting, but that doesn't mean the weeds have stopped growing. Joe Ikley, NDSU Extension weeds specialist, joins this week's Sound Ag Advice to discuss what he believes will be the most problematic weeds for farmers this year.

Speaker 1: Kelli Anderson, NDSU Ag Communication Information Specialist
Speaker 2: Joe Ikley, NDSU Extension Weeds Specialist

Kelli: This is Sound Ag Advice, a weekly feature presented by NDSU Extension. I'm Kelli Anderson and I'm joined this week by Joe Ikley, NDSU Extension weeds specialist. Now we came through a drought last year and we're going into a wet, late spring. So, Joe what does that mean for weed control for our North Dakota farmers?

Joe: Well, the primary things that means that yes, we will have weeds. So, there are some things that change in a wet year versus a dry year as far as weed management is concerned. But the main thing is that we will have weeds compared to last year since we are wetter, I would also anticipate more weeds than we had last year. So, we have plenty of moisture in the soil profile, weeds will germinate from the top couple inches, at least for most of our weeds. And that's where we put the moisture right now, the fact that we're getting into a late planting window to me also means that when we do kind of reset the ground, either through tillage or through a no-till burndown application to start clean, and we plant our crops, there will be a lot of weeds coming up. And basically, all the weeds are going to come up at once too, if we have a more typical year where we plant in April, we're gonna focus early on things like lambsquarters, wild buckwheat, wild oats will be very problematic for us early in the season.

And then as we get later into the season, mid-May, late May and June, that's when things like waterhemp will be very problematic for us, that's when we deal with kochia as well. Kochia, of course does emerge early, but it's going to be more problematic, the warmer and drier that we get. But kind of all that being said, I would expect all of those weeds to come up at once whenever we plant. So, we want to make sure if we're focusing on using preemergence herbicide, make sure you have a robust premix or tank mix of herbicides, that will go after basically all the weeds that we anticipate to germinate right after planting.

Kelli: Joe, you mentioned kochia and waterhemp. Are those some of the main weeds to be on the lookout for this year? And what are some others that you recommend farmers be looking for?

Joe: Yeah, so kochia and waterhemp are usually the two top weeds, I'm always thinking about kochia being the number one last year, because of the drought, we had a lot of kochia escapes in our fields. A lot of kochia went to seed and a lot of kochia is now up and ready to make for a bad year for us.
Waterhemp generally does better in wet years than dry years. So not as much waterhemp problems last year in some areas compared to the couple of years prior. But now that we are wet again, I expect for it to be a very problematic challenge for us this year as well. Those will be the main two I'm focused on. Green foxtail is becoming a lot more problematic for many of us having issues with Group 1 and Group 2 herbicide resistance in green foxtail. And so again, if we focus on using the preemergence herbicide, we can usually get good control of that grass weed as well.

And then another weed I'm focusing a lot on is horseweed or what some call mare's tail. Anyone in Canada will call it Canada fleabane. But it's all basically the same weed and primarily acts as a winter annual weed and can have spring emergence. And this is a weed that we didn't really deal with last year because of the dry 2020 harvest and fall into the drought of last year. Well, we had rainfall this past fall, and of course plenty of moisture this spring. And so, I expect that weed is out in abundance and it's going to be very problematic for no-till producers because of the glyphosate resistance that we have in that weed.

Kelli: Joe, in addition to herbicides that you mentioned, what are some other strategies to reduce weeds in our fields?

Joe: So, one of the things that I'm thinking about in a wet year is that when we have these wet conditions, and we conventionally till we also want to make sure that we don't pull the trigger on that cultivation pass too early, or when the soil is too wet. Not only to make for a good seed bed for planting the crops, what have we tilled into the soil when it's too wet? A lot of times we have a lot of big clods of soil and the weeds can survive in these clods of soil as well. And if we continue to stay wet, then the weeds will just basically be able to reroute out of that clot and into the dirt. Then you're dealing with an older cohort of weeds which will be pretty difficult to control and will grow a lot quicker than you anticipate.

Kelli: And finally, where can farmers go to get the most up-to-date weed control information throughout the planting and growing season.

Joe: A couple places I like to get information out is the Crop and Pest Report. I try to keep my Twitter handle pretty updated throughout the summer as well. So that's @NDSUweeds is that Twitter handle.

Kelli: Thank you for your time today Joe. Our guest today has been Joe Ikley, NDSU Extension weeds specialist. This has been Sound Ag Advice, a weekly feature presented by NDSU Extension.

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