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My Turn: Riding Into Town

How will the warm winter affect weed and insect pest outbreaks this year?

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Dan Reynolds
Professor, Miss. State University

I think the biggest impact will probably be on our ryegrass in the Mid-South. It is very conducive to vegetation. The farmers who didn’t put out residual applications will need to be proactively aggressive on this. On the flip side, the warm winter might give us more efficacy on some of our herbicides. We certainly don’t want to put them out in cold conditions. As for pigweed, it is a prolific seed producer, and outbreaks will continue.

Tim Roberts
Consultant, Dyersburg, Tenn.

You could see that our weeds in West Tennessee were gaining size back in December when we were sampling. They’ve really blown up in the last few weeks. Our situation isn’t as bad as what our neighbors to the south are facing. But there is no doubt that this winter has been very mild with very few sub-freezing temperatures. We are definitely facing a challenging year. So, what else is new?

Don Johnson
FMC Corp., Madison, Miss.

With the warm winter we’ve had, we know that there will be a lot of insect pressure, and the weed pressure will also be heavy. Because of this situation, I think we’ll see a lot more burndown applications. The farmer also needs to be aware of more cutworms because of the residue left behind from the burndown. We have always seen this kind of pest pressure after a mild winter, and this year will be no different from previous seasons. There’s only one way to get ahead of this problem – scout early and often and make sure we stay within threshold numbers and protect this crop. We’ve got to be aggressive.

Christopher Whatley
Winfield Solutions, Greenwood, Miss.

It has been an extremely warm winter. Any time you ride up and down the highway, you can see the weeds building up in the fields. I don’t know how this will affect the resistant pigweed problem. We are mostly trying to advise our farmers to do the precautionary things to try and get ahead of the problem. On the insect situation, you can step outside and see mosquitoes already. That is not a good sign for the months ahead.

Don Zarecor
Valent, Newbern, Tenn.

The warm winter has definitely had an impact on the increased outbreaks of henbit weeds. They are flowering much earlier than they normally do. Poanna weeds are also as big as I’ve ever seen them. This means that farmers must put enough product in the tank to make sure they’re getting a good burndown, including the residuals. Our producers know what a warm winter can mean to weed and insect pest outbreaks. This will be a difficult situation for farmers, but I think they are ready for the challenge and can deal with it.

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