Control weeds in fields and pastures this fall to keep forage quality and supply high, suggests Mark Landefeld, Ohio State University Extension educator in Monroe County.
Many hard-to-control perennial weeds feed their root systems in fall, which allows applied herbicide to reach those roots and effectively kill them, he says.
“Farmers should monitor their fields regularly to identify weeds and deal with them in a timely manner,” he adds. “Not only can weeds decrease forage quality, but some can be invasive and reduce the tonnage of the forage that you are trying to harvest.
“Getting rid of weeds while they are small and few in number can save time, money and effort.” More than 95% of weeds can be controlled through good management practices, Landefeld says.
This year’s dry weather hasn’t kept weeds at bay. During drought, grass can go dormant or get eaten close to the ground, which exposes soil surfaces to sunlight. That allows more weeds to germinate. Chickweed, henbit and purple deadnettle infestations can reduce alfalfa stands by up to 30%. Summer-annual weeds such as foxtails, lambsquarter and pigweed could then take over.
While herbicides often can combat weeds in fields or pastures, farmers should first evaluate existing stands in case reseeding is a better option, he suggests.
View Landefeld’s Weed Identification in Hay & Pasture Fields video.