• Great Plains Ag Solutions

Great Plains Ag Solutions

How To Tackle Chemical-Resistant Weeds

The Problem: Resistant Weeds

One of the biggest challenges farmers face today is the control of an ever-increasing list of herbicide-resistant weeds. Many species of weeds, such as waterhemp, mares tail, and palmer amaranth (pigweed), have become resistant to glyphosate and other herbicides. These resistant weeds traditionally emerge late (around May 1), grow rapidly, and then continue to grow throughout the summer until the crop canopies. These weeds are extremely hard to kill once they have emerged, since non-selective herbicides (which kill everything) are not an option during the corn or soybean growing season. This compounds many herbicide dilemmas.

Weeds in emerged crop

If weeds appear in growing soybeans, farmers are usually forced to employ in-crop selective herbicides. Sometimes called “rescue-type” treatments, these herbicides are typically more expensive and are very specific to the size of weeds they can affect. If the weeds are even just a little too big, selective herbicides do not work. Often, the herbicide labels don’t use the word “kill,” instead opting for phrases such as “control,” “suppress,” or “partial control,” none of which guarantee the weeds will actually be killed. In some cases, the weeds turn brown and appear dead, but can return within a week.

These defiant weeds grow fast—so rain or just a few good growing days can mean the difference between success and failure. It is important to eliminate them quickly and completely.

The Solution: Field-Proven Tillage Practices

As weeds become more resistant to chemicals, know that you still have options. Since herbicide weed control has become more complicated, expensive, and less effective (plus, some herbicides are very dangerous to handle), many farmers have turned to more traditional methods of weed control. Tillage offers an immediate solution by instantly removing weeds. If any survive the first pass, simply turn around and make a second pass diagonally to kill the missed weeds.

When you fold up and leave the field, you can know if your field is clean. Behind a Disc-O-Vator® or Disk Harrow, no weed will appear dead and then come back to life in a week.

The bottom line is: weeds can’t resist tillage.

Best Tillage Tools to Eliminate Weeds

Whether it’s our rugged Disc-O-Vator, Disk Harrow, Short Disk™, X-Press™, or one of our other conventional tillage machines, Great Plains o­ffers a complete line of products to help you get rid of those pesky weeds.

Disc-O-Vator & Field Cultivator

Sweep-type tools, such as the Disc-O-Vator and Field Cultivator, are the “gold standard” for weed control while preparing a seedbed. If operated correctly, weeds can’t resist these tools. They run at a fairly shallow depth, cutting weeds off or pulling them out by the roots. Both the Field Cultivator and Disc-O-Vator feature the Max-Mix pattern, which helps dislodge weeds because it moves them right, then left, etc.

In early spring, a Disc-O-Vator is ideal behind a fall chisel pass because the front discs chop up residue and smooth the field before the sweeps run through the soil. This reduces the plugging and bunching of trash that can occur in high residue situations early in the season. The Disc-O-Vator can be equipped with the Turbo Coulter to help keep the field level and prevent ridging caused by concave disc blades.

Disk Harrow

Disk Harrows are an integral tool in a tillage operation. They are normally used as either a primary tillage tool or a secondary tillage tool to smooth the ground behind a fall chisel pass early in the spring. Obviously, conventional disks are very good for weed control, especially in early spring. Their aggressive nature and ability to eliminate weeds make them an excellent choice. 

Short Disk & X-Press

A high-speed Short Disk could potentially be used for weed control later in the spring, due to its aggressive blade stance and rear consolidator roller. The aggressive blade stance allows for a shallower tillage pass, disturbing less moisture than a traditional disk. The rear roller helps firm the soil and also helps prevent the ground from drying out as much as a traditional disk. For an aggressive finishing tool, the European-style X-Press offers a great option for a final, high-speed seedbed preparation pass.

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