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Ryegrass Management


Stop Ryegrass From Showing Up in Your Wheat

The award for Peskiest Weed of 2016 unanimously goes to: ryegrass.

The presence of rye grass in wheat and barley has been detrimental to crop yield this year. Growers are finding out that many of the herbicides used in the past to combat ryegrass, are no longer effective. Last year there were many reports of ryegrass being resistant to Axial & Hoelon, and unfortunately that trend has continued into this year.

Powerflex & Osprey are currently the most frequently used “postemerge” herbicides. Osprey must be applied with water and without fertilizer. Fall use of Finesse & Maverick is also effective, but requires more careful planning in regard to subsequent crops. Axiom and Zidua are two newer products being tried in Fall burndown and residual control efforts.

One of the biggest causes of this problem could be from sourcing uncleaned seed. When you plant uncleaned or poorly cleaned seeds to use for cover crops or harvest, you could essentially be planting rye grass right back into your fields. Ryegrass is resilient, and can sometimes survive 2 years in the soil before emerging.

Ryegrass in a Wheat Field

Benefits of Professionally Cleaned Seed

  • Higher germination rates & trueness to variety
  • Professionally applied treatments protect against seed borne diseases
  • Highest percentage efficacy of weed seed elimination

This past Spring, economics played a big part in uncontrolled ryegrass infestations. Many farmers were reluctant—and logically so—to spend money on taking care of their cover crop wheat fields, as they intended to kill them. However, quite a few growers changed their minds late-season and harvested the fields instead. Even a modest yield generated some desperately needed cash flow. This resulted in a lot of “dirty” wheat showing up at grain elevators.

Economics of New Seed vs. Bin-Run

  • Income lost by not selling as commodity grain (e.g. one bushel of bin-run seed multiplied by the price of a small grain bushel)
  • Average loss of 10-15% cleanout at harvest for bin-run seed
  • Handling and transportation costs for bin-run (approx. $.35- $.75/bushel)
  • Bin-run planting rates are generally 15% higher than new certified seed
  • New seed yields an average of 1.8 bushel/acre more than bin-run (University yield trials range from 1.2-5.9 bushel/acre)

Once you have ryegrass in your fields it is extremely difficult to get rid of and will choke out any type of crop. It’s a big problem that’s likely to get worse, as annual ryegrass is gaining popularity as a cover crop. Annual ryegrass cover crops are supposed to be killed early in the spring to prevent seed head maturity, but that is more policy, than reality.

Every region has its insect control and wheat disease challenges. Your Southern States Professional can recommend the fungicide and insecticide seed treatment options to provide protection against numerous seed borne, soil borne, and foliar diseases as well as early season insect control. For a stronger crop yield in YOUR fields, ask us about the seed treatments that will benefit your crop needs the most.

And remember: If you want to stop rye grass in your fields, stop planting uncleaned seed! Buy professionally cleaned seed fromSouthern States.

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