The battle to control weeds in soybeans in 2018 starts now, while the current crop is still green.
I can almost hear your response to the line above: We don’t have a handle on the weeds in this year’s crop and that Nelson fella is trying to get us to move on to next year!
That’s exactly right. While the weed species you’ve struggled with in the tortuous spring of 2017 are fresh in your memory, it’s time to begin the basics of planning for your next crop.
Winter annual weeds are pests that can challenge growers to achieve adequate control. Several species are gaining footholds farther north, causing growers to look at changing up weed control programs to address them.
Henbit, chickweed, butterweed and marestail are weeds that were more evident in North Central Illinois this spring. We should remember them as we prepare for 2018. I recommend preparing now by noting what species you encountered this year and investigating practices to address them, such as fall burndown or cover crops.
Henbit has shown itself farther north in recent years.
Butterweed is becoming more noticeable in North Central Illinois.
Growers in our region are fortunate in that marestail, though difficult to control with post-emergence treatments, still predominantly acts as a winter annual. Fall burndown treatments are very effective in combating this weed. Formulate a plan of attack long before harvest. That lets you ask questions at upcoming field days and plots and discuss with a trusted advisor what products make sense and how and when to apply them.
Marestail is very difficult to control at this stage.
If you wait until after harvest to start deciding on details of a fall herbicide program, the calendar may run out before that application can be made. By laying the groundwork now, including who will make the application and what products to use, you relieve some of the pressure in the heat of harvest and fall field work.
Continually investigating and planning will help make the battle against weeds as effective as possible, this year, next year and into the future.
CCA Kevin Nelson is a 4R NMS at Northern Partners Cooperative. Kevin works with the Agronomy Sales Team and growers in North Central Illinois. He is a 2017 Illinois Soybean Association CCA Soy Envoy.