NDSU Extension Service - Burke County

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Harvest Talk

County Agent News
Dan Folske
August 28, 2017

 

Great harvest weather! Yields vary a great deal around the county but are generally better than expected, especially on early seeded crops. Peas and lentils and early seeded small grains are actually very good in some areas and at least mediocre instead of very poor in other areas. Later seeded crops with poor stands don’t look so good and many canola yields are very poor.

As harvest progresses it is time to think about fall weed control. It is a little early yet and unless you have gotten some rain showers germination of winter annuals may be less than normal. Fall is always the best time to control perennials and winter annuals. Perennials are busy storing carbohydrates into their root system at this time and most methods of weed control will be more effective. Herbicides are translocated into the roots better at this time, and cultivating or even clipping interrupts the plants life cycle and causes them to expend energy on regrowth instead of energy storage thus weakening the plants ability to survive the winter.

 One weed which has been a big problem in recent years is foxtail barley. One of the problems with this weed is ability to adapt its life style to fit the conditions. Most weed ID books refer to it as a winter annual however it can be a spring annual or a short lived perennial. A fall herbicide application is perfect for stopping those fall germinating winter annuals and short lived perennials. It won’t stop the foxtail barley that chooses to germinate in the spring but at least those plants will be slightly later in maturity and a spring burndown should be effective on them. Spring burndowns often provide poor control of the perennial and winter annual phases of this weed because they get such an early start and glyphosate is weak on them unless they are very small.

Fall burndowns are also very effective on other winter annuals like field pennycress and shepard’s purse which will often flower and produce seed in the spring before a producer gets out there with a spring burndown or preplant tillage.

Another positive result of a fall burn down or tillage operation is the stopping of the “green bridge”, the living grass plants which can support populations of the wheat curl mites. These are the mites responsible for spreading wheat streak mosaic virus which caused a big problem for some producers in 2016.

Homeowners and ranchers should also be thinking about controlling those perennial weeds in their lawns, pastures, and hayfields. Now is the perfect timing for dandelion control and many other perennial and biennial weeds.

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