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Start Clean in 2018: Manage Winter Weeds

December 22, 2017
This agronomic image shows a field of marestail.


From crop establishment to seedling diseases and pests, there are several aspects of crop production that winter weeds impact each year. Controlling these difficult weeds is the first step in ensuring the best possible start for top yields.

Some growers have moved away from pre-emergence residual herbicides and have eliminated tillage from their weed management programs. As a result, they may struggle to control winter weeds at planting. These weeds include marestail, common chickweed, field pennycress and more.

One of the biggest issues with unmanaged winter weeds is their effect on timely planting. Purdue University researchers say weeds can also increase the likelihood of insect infestations and disease, like black cutworm and soybean cyst nematode.

Fortunately, there are a number of cultural practices and management options that can help combat winter weeds:

  • Weed scouting and identification during harvest gives no-till producers a head start on combatting weeds.
  • In order to target the most vulnerable growth stage of winter annuals, University of Nebraska experts advise that growers should plan on a fall application of a pre-emergence herbicide.
  • Crop rotation reduces the likelihood that specific weed species will become adapted to the system, while aggressive tillage operations bury weed seeds, thwarting germination and emergence. Additionally, a spring burndown program provides effective weed control to prepare for planting.

Learn more about how to combat winter weeds with the Resistance Fighter® program from Syngenta, which provides education, local recommendations and a comprehensive herbicide portfolio to help you effectively manage weeds in your area.

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