Taylor County AgriLife Extension agent Robert Pritz, right, hands off the mike to Extension agronomist David Drake at the recent big country Wehat cnference in Abilene.
Controlling weeds in wheat may never have been particularly easy, but increasing pressure from herbicide-resistant weeds makes the chore a bit more complicated.
But it’s not impossible, says David Drake, Texas AgriLife Extension agronomist who works out of the Research and Extension Center in San Angelo. Drake says six factors play important roles in effective weed control.
“Know the enemy is the first,” he said. Identifying the weed species is essential to select the correct herbicide, cultural practice, rotation option and application timing to achieve effective control.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” he noted as No. 2 on the list. If weeds never get started, they can’t overtake and overwhelm management practices, and they don’t steal valuable nutrients and moisture from the wheat crop.
“Control other factors,” Drake said. That includes a consistent rotation system, pest control, and achieving an adequate stand.
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“Follow integrated pest management principles,” is No. 4 on his list. He says spending time with the crop, observing growth stage, nutrient and moisture demands and identifying any disease, insect and weed pests that may be encroaching reduces the potential for crop loss.
“Rotate,” he advises. That means crop as well as chemistry. He says alternating one herbicide with others using different modes of action will help prevent weed resistance. Tank mixing different chemistries also offers a good resistance management option.
No. 6 is timing. “Timing is critical,” Drake said. Waiting until weeds are too large or allowing resistant weeds to remain in the field and go to seed make weed control much harder than it needs to be.