WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — As planting finally gets underway in much of Indiana, farmers still have many challenges ahead of them, including increased weed size and population.
“Farmers are faced with marestail getting big, as well as giant foxtail and common lambsquarters are getting size to them, too,” said Bill Johnson, a botany and plant pathology professor at Purdue University.
Besides weeds growing larger than normal, Johnson said fall and summer annuals that haven’t been burned down yet are getting some growth to them, too.
“Everything is big. When fields are finally dry enough to get equipment in, conditions might not be ideal,” he said.
Johnson said this is the most challenging spring he has seen in the 17 years he has been here.
The weed expert said right now the most important thing farmers need to focus on controlling is the weeds, so they don’t choke out their crops once they start growing.
“It is imperative to know what weeds one is trying to control,” he said.
Johnson said he has been getting a lot of questions, and one farmers are asking is if they should mow off the weeds before spraying.
Johnson said that answer is no, because there is a lot of residue layers on top of the weeds and they are trying to kill off the succulents, which is why it is best to spray the weeds first.
He said as producers begin to spray the weeds and they start to wilt and die, it will become more difficult for a planter to work properly due to the size and amount of weed vegetation there will be.