Fall Herbicide is one management tool besides seeding small grains to control winter annual weeds and marestail (horseweed); it may not be necessary for every field. It’s important to scout fields for current weed pressure. Also consider targeting fields that have a history of winter annual weeds or marestail. Nebraska research shows up to 95% of marestail germinates in the fall, so fall application can aid management. Most products contain 2,4-D and/or dicamba. Tank-mixing a residual herbicide with a burndown product will improve marestail control because the residual activity will control marestail emerging after herbicide application.
Some winter annual weeds also serve as hosts for pathogens like soybean cyst nematode (SCN): purple deadnettle (strong host), henbit (strong host), field pennycress (moderate host), shepherd’s-purse (weak host), small-flowered bittercress (weak host), and common chickweed (weak host). SCN can reproduce in the field on henbit and purple deadnettle. We have no research to show that a fall application helps with palmer even though some feel it does.
Regarding temperatures, Dr. Amit Jhala has shared the ideal temperature for applying most post-emergence herbicides is between 65°F and 85°F. Herbicides can be applied at 40°F to 60°F, but weeds may be killed slowly. When the temperature is below 40°F for an extended time after burndown, weed control will most likely be reduced, specifically for a systemic burndown herbicide such as glyphosate. Additionally, weed control may be reduced under cloudy conditions following an initial temperature drop below 40°F. With late-fall herbicide applications be sure to add labeled adjuvants to improve herbicide efficacy.
Frosts of less than 25°F usually cause leaf damage to annual plants, making them poor targets for herbicide applications; however, winter annual weeds may tolerate a frost up to 20°F and continue growing when conditions improve, with little tissue damage. After weeds experience frost, active growth may not begin again for a few days. Growers should wait until new leaf tissue is produced, scout the field, and then consider applying herbicide. Generally, this would be when nighttime temperatures are 35°F or greater and daytime temperatures are at least 50°F for two consecutive days. Additionally, sunshine is needed for plants to recover.
Grazing Restrictions: Be sure to check labels for any grazing restrictions if livestock will graze cornstalks after a fall herbicide application (I’ve added photos of the grazing restrictions from the 2022 Weed Guide on my blog jenreesources.com). If the label doesn’t specify and you want to be on the safe side, a rule of thumb is to use the pre-harvest interval for the amount of time to wait before grazing stalks.
Water Testing Kits from UBBNRD: The following is a small excerpt from the UBBNRD Blueprint newsletter on this helpful program for rural residents. For the full article and information, please see: https://www.upperbigblue.org/%E2%80%8B-free-water-quality-test-kits-offered-rural-residents. “Consuming water with elevated levels of nitrate-nitrogen can have significant health risks, especially for younger people. (EPA guideline for safe drinking water is less than 10 parts per million of nitrate.) Annual testing of your water is an important way to protect the health of everyone in your home—and a new test kit now available through the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District makes that even easier to do. Thanks to a partnership with the University of Nebraska Lincoln, the Upper Big Blue NRD can now mail simplified at-home test kits to district residents for free. To request a kit, call (402) 362-6601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your home mailing address. The at-home kits are not as sensitive as having a sample tested in the lab, but they do provide a simple way to determine if additional testing is required to identify what further steps need to be taken to improve drinking water quality, such as installing a reverse osmosis filter.”
2022 Nebraska Ballot Initiatives are explained by Dr. Dave Aiken in this document https://agecon.unl.edu/2022-nebraska-ballot-issues and webinar https://go.unl.edu/n2pw.