Harvest is a good time for U.S. soybean farmers to celebrate a bountiful gathering of their hard work and yearlong efforts. It can also be a time to reflect on lessons learned from environmental, disease and weed pressures from the past growing season, how much yield those stresses cost and how to manage them next year.
Specifically for weeds, you can be a steward of the land and get a jump on next year’s weed management during this year’s harvest. While harvesting your crop, it is very easy for the combine to spread weed seeds throughout your field as well as into neighboring fields.
Below, University of Tennessee Row Crop Weed Specialist Larry Steckel, Ph.D., offers four adjustments you can make to your management practices during harvest that could make your spring and summer weed management easier.
#1 Manage weeds before they take over your field. Proactive management will improve your yields and reduce the chances of having herbicide-resistant weeds develop in your fields.
#2 Leave large patches of weeds in the field. This will diminish the amount of weed seed spread throughout the rest of that field.
#3 Clean the combine after harvesting weedy fields. Clean machinery transfers fewer weed seeds to other fields.
#4 Harvest the fields with the most weeds last. Leaving the worst for last will decrease the spread of weed seed even more.