Whether you are watching from the cab of a drill, floater, combine, or sprayer, this Spring you can see specks of green littering your fields that were unbelievably clean last year. This previous year was an anomaly on the Canadian prairies – A dry, cold Spring, where we had uneven germination, and weed-less fields for miles. Cue a timely rain in June, and that changed. Flushes of kochia, cleavers, and narrow-leaved hawksbeard took over our once clean crops. Fast forward to this year, we are seeing the repercussions of these flushes. Spring is a busy time, and a pre-burn is not always feasible, especially with the possibility of snow storms in April. Coming into post-emergence, we have to be prepared.
Weeds such as kochia, volunteer canola, and wild buckwheat, although they look innocent, can prove to be detrimental to crop yields. High weed populations in the early part of the growing season create competition for water, nutrients, and sunlight, which are all essential for the developing crop. This is why it is important to have early control. A post-harvest application if possible, will reduce instances of winter annuals. A pre-emergence application will allow for a wide spectrum of herbicides to be used; in turn this doesn’t limit the weeds you can control. This will reduce stress on the plants and your sprayer operator, once the crop is emerged.
Post-emergence, your options are limited a considerable amount. When this is the case, the best option is typically to wait until your crop reaches the appropriate staging for given herbicide options, and then spray. Given the way the growing season has started, our crops are going to have some early season vigour that we did not see in 2019. This means that it should have some competitive edge against weed pressure.
Another area we have advanced on in agriculture is herbicide rotation and herbicide layering. It is important to keep these in mind when spraying the crops, and when planning out your crop rotation. Herbicide rotation refers to using a different active on the same field with each pass. This is to ensure that weeds do not become herbicide resistant. An even more effective way to reduce herbicide resistance is to layer your active ingredients. This way, if one active only hurts the weed and doesn’t kill it, the next one will. This will limit the ability of the resistant plant to reproduce and make for a herbicide resistant mess in the following years.
At the end of the day, your best option when it comes to weed control is to be proactive and to talk to your Agronomist. With them, you will want to discuss your options and the best way to control the spectrum of weeds in your field. Visit your local SynergyAG retail location and connect with their Agronomist.
Karly Rumpel A.Ag., BSc.(Agr.)
Synergy AG Govan