Layby applications might help control morningglory in corn

In Southeast Farm Press

When I arrived in Tifton, Ga., 17 years ago, it was very common for corn growers to layby with Evik herbicide. Although this was usually for Texas panicum management, Evik provided some level of control of annual morningglory and other weed species.

Although Palmer amaranth is definitely Public Enemy No.1 for most row crops, I argue that in field corn annual morningglory is the real “Al Capone.” There are several reasons why annual morningglory can be problematic in field corn in the Southeast:

  1. Southern corn farmers grow this crop in an environment that favors late-season emergence of annual morningglory plants.
  2. There is no herbicide that can be applied in late February or March or April that will last until July or August.  It just doesn’t exist.
  3. The herbicide with the most potential residual activity, atrazine, can no longer be applied at long-term effective residual rates (remember the old 2 + 2 program?) and enhanced microbial degradation issues further reduce its residual potency.

Traditional over-the-top weed control programs could possibly be tweaked to get better control of annual morningglory.  However, I think a better short–term solution would be to reconsider the use of directed or layby applications. I realize this is not what most growers want to hear since many are reluctant to make additional trips over a field, and time is everyone’s most precious commodity.

Read the rest of the story in Southeast Farm Press.

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