Southern nursery group shows growers how to get the biggest bang for their buck with weed control

Most of us are used to seeing weeds in our yards or flowerpots, but not in the plants that we buy in the store. Nursery crop growers and workers go to great lengths to make sure that the plants we buy are weed free when we pick them up. That service comes at a great cost to the grower, however, so Joseph Neal at NC State University sought to remove some of the burden by teaching nursery owners more efficient and economical ways to weed their container plants.

Weeds are a serious problem for nursery crop growers, not just because they reduce marketability of their container plants, but also because they can inhibit plant development. Just one large crabgrass plant in a container with Japanese holly, for instance, can reduce the weight of the holly by as much as 60 percent. Nursery crop producers use between three and six applications of preemergence herbicides per year, and often must still hard weed after that. The cost of hand weeding is between $500 and $4,000 per acre per year based on labor costs. Continue reading

Research finds that intercropping improves weed and insect control

In Southwest Farm Press

Sometimes looking to the past for answers pays off.

Lower input costs and better crop protection seem to be the benefits of returning to an almost forgotten cropping practice employed by the Americas in ancient times, at least according to the results of a Texas A&M research project involving vegetable and non-vegetable plants grown in an age-old farming system involving the art and science of “intercropping,” or companion crop production. Continue reading

More mature cover crops help maintain residue longer

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

Often producers planting cover crops are worried about moisture use, but more important is the longevity of the crop residue and its beneficial results, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist.

Dr. Paul DeLaune, an AgriLife Research environmental soil scientist at Vernon, said when he talks about the residue management of cover crops, one question he always gets concerns termination timing and the use of soil moisture by the cover crop. Continue reading

Miracle weed killer is devastating farms

In the Washington Post

EDITOR’s NOTE: One of the primary purposes of integrated pest management is to prevent pesticide resistance. Unfortunately, as Northeastern IPM Center Director Steve Young says, “the trend in industry, regulatory, policy, and even academia over the past several decades has been a focus on technology aimed at simplifying production practices,” resulting in “fewer and fewer options.” The looming controversy over dicamba use is a prime example. I’ve been reading articles in Delta and Southeast Farm Press over the past several months that show that use of the most recent release of dicamba has torn the agricultural community apart, pitting neighbor against neighbor. Some farmers have resigned themselves to switching to dicamba-resistant soybeans just to stay in business. The story below, continued in the Washington Post, highlights some of the issues that have been related in the news during the past year and emphasize the importance of a varied pest management program.

article by Caitlin Dewey, Washington Post

Clay Mayes slams on the brakes of his Chevy Silverado and jumps out with the engine running, yelling at a dogwood by the side of the dirt road as if it had said something insulting.

Its leaves curl downward and in on themselves like tiny, broken umbrellas. It’s the telltale mark of inadvertent exposure to a controversial herbicide called dicamba. Continue reading

Ranch Management University set for Oct. 9-13 on Texas A&M campus

by Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M AgriLife

From soil management to cattle, forage and wildlife, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Ranch Management University Oct. 9-13 in College Station will offer a little something for everyone, according to coordinators.

The workshop will meet at the G. Rollie White Visitor Center, 7707 Raymond Stotzer Parkway on the Texas A&M University campus, said Dr. Larry Redmon, Texas A&M University soil and crop sciences associate department head and AgriLife Extension program leader, College Station. Continue reading

Interseeding, Precision Planting and Management of Cover Crops in a Corn and Soybean Rotation

What will you learn?

At the conclusion of this webinar participants will be able to develop a prescription for interseeding cover crops, understand the potential benefits of the practice, and describe situations where it will have the most potential for success. Learn more…

Presenter(s):

  • Greg Roth, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Plant Science, Penn State University, University Park, PA

Continue reading

USDA research finds conservation tillage works better after first year

In Southeast Farm Press

An onslaught of the weed Palmer amaranth in the southeastern United States has left many farmers wondering if they should continue using environmentally friendly cover crops and conservation tillage or switch to conventional tillage.

Palmer amaranth is aggressive, drought tolerant, a prolific seed producer, and capable of developing resistance to glyphosate, known as Roundup. Because of that, thousands of acres in Alabama and elsewhere are at risk of being converted to conventional tillage, which may better control the weed, but increases soil erosion and threatens long-term soil productivity.  Continue reading