Weed control is, and will continue to be, a hot topic this season, especially on your prevent plant acres. Dr. Aaron Hager is a weed specialist at the University of Illinois- he appeared on the HAT Soil Health Podcast that dropped today at hoosieragtoday.com.
“We really feel as though at this point in the in the season that trying to control the existing vegetation with some sort of a nonselective herbicide, or another burndown, is probably going to be: 1. Ineffective and 2. Pose some challenges of potential off target herbicide movement that we really don’t want to see. The reason we’re saying this is that if you think about the height of some of the summer annuals in the field, we’ve got waterhemp, marestail. and giant ragweed in Illinois approaching 4 to 5 feet tall right now, so in order to get adequate coverage, think about how high you’re going to have set that boom.”
So, if not another burndown, what does Hager recommend?
“We could use a combination of tactics. We have tillage options, obviously, but if we get into scenarios where these fields are very rank with vegetation, we could consider something like mowing it first and then coming back with a perhaps less aggressive piece of tillage equipment, and try to achieve control of this vegetation before it actually does produce seed. In other instances, I’m afraid, we’re going to probably have to be somewhat aggressive with the tillage, maybe even 2 passes to get these things adequately controlled.”
Hager says the less tillage, obviously, the better for your soil health. You can hear more from Hager in the full HAT Soil Health podcast presented by the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative.