Don't Cut Costs on Weed Control
With the end of 2023 rapidly creeping up on us and prepay windows approaching, many farmers are trying to find ways to cut expenses for the 2024 growing season. I often hear the question, “Do I really need to spend money to apply a pre-emerge chemical in front of my crops, or should I add a residual to my post application?” The answer is yes to both questions in my opinion.
There are many areas in our trade territory that have weeds that are tolerant or resistant to many of our post-applied chemicals. Many weed populations, such as water hemp, have only one post-emerge option, and that option is not the same in all geographies. Tillage may kill many emerged weeds before planting, however a pre helps with the control of the new seedling. With no-till being the tillage system of choice in many areas, we must rely on chemistry to take care of our weed control systems.
With no new chemistry coming to the market soon, it’s important to use as many modes of action as practical to keep weeds under control. Many of the top-performing pre-emerge chemicals offer multiple modes of action. Following them with a post-emerge chemical will take care of any escapes from the pre-emerge program. Adding another layer of residual at post-application will give us a chemical program offering many effective modes of action to control the resistant/tolerant weed populations season long.
Yes, you may get by without using a pre-chemical for a year or two, but it will eventually catch up. Almost every weed outbreak can be attributed to only one effective mode of action. Without proper management we’ll end up making larger populations of weeds that are resistant/tolerant to the chemistry available on the market today, and a train wreck of weeds will result.
Talk to your local SFG agronomist to help with a good two-pass chemical program that will add returns to your bottom line in 2024.