Starting with a field free of weeds and maintaining control of these yield robbers is paramount for high wheat yields. Begin by controlling existing broadleaf weeds with a herbicide that provides both burndown and residual activity to keep grassy weeds at bay this fall as your wheat crop emerges and establishes fall tillers.
Crop rotation can help with weed control. By rotating crops, your planting dates, growth habitat and herbicide options are often different. For example, you can control many perennial weeds in a preceding crop of Roundup Ready®, Xtend® or Enlist™ soybeans. However, these same weeds could quickly become problematic in a continuous wheat rotation where your herbicide options are more limited.
In some situations, double cropping can perpetuate problems with certain weeds. For example, those who double crop soybeans with wheat might see an Italian ryegrass spike. During wheat harvest, seeds can scatter. The seeds can overwinter and create challenges, especially when no-tilled corn is planted the next year. If the Italian ryegrass is not controlled in corn, it can be problematic when wheat is planted following corn harvest.
According to University of Kentucky Extension, one ryegrass plant per square foot can reduce wheat yield by approximately 4 percent.
Giving weeds a one-two punch with a burndown, residual herbicide like Anthem® Flex is ideal. Burndown controls emerged broadleaf weeds. It also provides residual control of Italian ryegrass and annual bluegrass. Plus, Anthem Flex offers a wide application window from 14 days pre-plant through 4th tiller in wheat.
One of the most important things to remember is that taking weeds out early is critical to controlling weeds. The bigger the weeds get ― or the longer you go without an application ― the harder it is to kill tough-to-control weeds. As always, read your herbicide label for directions on application timing for specific weeds.
Your local Southern States expert can help you develop a weed control plan to optimize your wheat yields, and provide product and application recommendations. Find your local Southern States expert here.