A burndown herbicide applied prior to planting and/or before crop emergence is essential to eliminate weed competition during emergence and early tillering stages, if weeds are present in a no-tillage system.
Tillage may also serve the same purpose in conventionally prepared seedbeds. In fact, tillage may be the most practical option to control volunteer Roundup Ready corn prior to planting wheat.
Maintaining a weed-free environment during planting and stand establishment is essential because weeds are very competitive with young wheat plants, particularly if they emerge before or at a similar time as the wheat crop.
Likewise, abundant populations of quick-starting weeds, including henbit and annual bluegrass, may intensely compete with wheat during the fall, despite their small stature.
Of course, ryegrass remains a foremost problem. I encourage you to use fall-applied herbicides to control these weeds during the fall, if they are thick, because competition will rob valuable nutrients and reduce wheat tillering. Thus, fewer wheat heads will be produced next spring.
Fall weed control is particularly important, if you employ a conservative seeding rate strategy.
There are several herbicide options labeled for either preplant, pre- emergence or early postemergence use on wheat which offer residual weed control, so if you would like some assistance with these, we would be happy to help.
I believe exclusive reliance on spring-applied postemergence herbicides and late timing are key management areas where we often leave a lot of wheat yield potential on the table.
Unimpeded weed competition during Southern winters are even more important in the south, compared to further north, because more winter weed growth is likely during our modest winters.
2,4-D should not be applied early postemergence to wheat in the fall, because wheat is intolerant during seedling and early tillering stages.
A short list of variety suggestions for 2010 can be found at: 2010 MSU Wheat Variety Suggestions.
Editor’s note: This article appeared in the Sept. 24, 2010, issue of Mississippi Crop Situation 2010.