Writers: Pam Dillard, (806) 359-5401, firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Bryant, (806) 746-6101, email@example.com
Contact: Brent Bean, (806) 359-5401, firstname.lastname@example.org
Clay Salisbury, (806) 359-5401, email@example.com
AMARILLO An unusually cold, wet April in the Texas Panhandle has created a variety of problems for corn producers, say agronomists at the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center here.
Cool soil temperatures have slowed crop emergence, wet soil has delayed planting while creating ideal moisture conditions for weed seed germination, and snowfall in many areas disrupted key field work for several days. In addition, untimely rainfall created havoc with herbicides already applied or delayed herbicide application. Weed control in corn is off to a poor start.
“As a result, producers are faced with difficult decisions on how best to proceed with weed control,” said Dr. Brent Bean, agronomist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. “Many are faced with at least one of several different unfavorable scenarios,” added Dr. Clay Salisbury, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station agronomist.
Key considerations include herbicide label restrictions, potential for crop injury, expense of weed control, and timing treatment to growth stage of the crop and weeds.
In some fields, corn has been planted and herbicide has been applied.
“The recent record rainfall may have leached pre-emergence herbicide out of the weed zone, making it less effective on germinating weeds,” the agronomists said.
“The extent of leaching may vary widely across the Panhandle and depends upon the amount of rainfall, the particular herbicide applied, and soil type,” they said. Injury to the emerging crop may also occur as a result of herbicide leaching into the crop root zone and slow crop emergence.
“Keep in mind that if weeds and grass emerge before or with the corn, their size may make control difficult,” Bean said.
“No matter what course of action the producer takes, the potential exists for crop injury and reduced weed control this season,” the agronomists agreed. However, producers can hope that better weather will help with weed control, and they can maximize success by keeping a close watch on their fields to detect developing weed problems, they said.
“Because early season weed control is vital for preserving crop yield, and many herbicides are most effective on small weeds, producers should be prepared to control weeds while small, preferably less than 2 inches in height,” Salisbury said.