Establish forage stands for best weed control.
Agronomy Bulletin 103 ─ Weed Management in Mixed Forages
Weed control is a bigger challenge in mixed forage crops than in monoculture. Overcome the challenge with proper stand establishment and aggressive management.
Factors to Consider
- Planting timing
- Seedbed preparation
- Seeding method
- Time planting for optimum stand establishment. High soil moisture and natural rainfall make early spring the most favorable time for planting. Forages can become established before weeds emerge. Lower moisture levels in summer decrease forage germination rate, giving weeds the opportunity to establish stands.
- Control weeds before and during establishment. Use systemic herbicides prior to planting to control perennial weeds. Fall burndown applications prior to spring planting are the most desirable. Spring applications of burndown herbicides are less effective because weeds have to be actively growing to be controlled.
- Plant into a clean, uniform and firm seedbed. This will achieve good seed-to-soil contact for quick uniform establishment. Avoid broadcast applications, which can result in poor seed-to-soil contact and inconsistent germination. When planting forage crops with a drill, be careful not to plant too deep.
- Manage forages for effective weed control. A good stand is a necessary first step, but proper management is critical to maintaining a weed-free field. Fertilize properly and time cuttings to keep the forage plants competitive. Select disease-resistant varieties to reduce unnecessary crop stress. If annual weeds show up, consider an early mowing to remove. Spot-treat perennial weeds with glyphosate as needed.
Competition from the crop is the best method of weed control in forage fields. Establish a solid stand early and manage the forage crop well to ensure it will outcompete any weeds. For more information, contact your local Mycogen Seeds customer agronomist or trusted agronomic adviser.
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