Farmers can use multiple methods to control weeds before they become problematic
By Kaitlynn Anderson
As many Ontario producers finish this year’s wheat harvest, they may want to take some steps to prevent weeds from overtaking their fields.
Farmers have a few options to choose from, said James Ferrier, technical sales manager at Nufarm.
After harvesting their cereal crops, some producers may choose to till their fields, although this option is becoming less common.
“With the move toward more sustainable farming, most people are looking at … no-till” methods, Ferrier said to Farms.com.
Producers can also apply herbicides on their fields.
Individuals opting to go this route may want to wait at least three weeks after harvest “to allow any volunteer cereals to emerge and allow the weeds to grow up if they’ve been cut off by the combine,” Ferrier said. This application timing will ensure the plants “are able to take up the chemistry that’s being applied.”
Farmers are also increasingly opting to use cover crops, like tillage radish and red clover, to manage weeds, he said.
Some growers have found that cereal rye, for example, can be an effective option to control fleabane.
This crop can “either smother (the weed) or keep it smaller so that you can potentially have better efficacy with your herbicide applications in the spring,” Ferrier said.
These crops can offer additional benefits for farmers, too.
For example, “oats and rye may take up some residual nitrogen leftover from the cereal crop,” he said.
Farmers can plant these crops immediately after harvest.
Producers who planted clover into their cereal stands earlier in the year may choose to let the crop continue to grow after harvest, he said.
Since winter annual weeds are becoming more common throughout Ontario, producers should be proactive in managing them.
“These are weeds that emerge in the fall and continue their lifecycle in the spring,” Ferrier said. “Controlling these weeds post-harvest in cereals leads us to cleaner fields in the spring.”
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