“When we sprayed fields at the normal burn-down time in the spring, some of those plants were a little bigger than typical for that time of year. Some growers probably did what they have done in past years, and what we recommended they do, but in many cases the horseweed was just a little too big to manage properly,” he adds.

If unusual weather patterns that affect the growth of both target plants and weeds continue to occur, growers are likely going to have to change their pest control tactics, including taking a different look at getting fields clean for planting time.

We may need to look at some options that are a little different, Everman says.  One option is paraquat, though many growers don’t like to use it because of crop safety issues. “Used safely, paraquat can be a very effective product and works especially well with Valor in the tank-mix,” Everman says.

“In the spring, with daytime temperatures in the 50s and 60s, it’s safe to use paraquat-based burn-down products. It will take better coverage than when using glyphosate and other systemic herbicides, and it will need 15-20 gallons of water in the spray tank to get best results.

“Sharpen is a new product that showed good results last year when used as a burn-down herbicide. It is a member of BASF’s Kixor family of herbicides. When used as a burn-down material Sharpen should be tank — mixed with a preferred adjuvant.”

Everman says some North Carolina growers are going to a more full-season approach to manage weeds that impact crops in the spring and summer months. Some put down a pre-emergence application of Envive or Valor after they cut their wheat crop.

“If a grower gets good moisture after applying herbicides behind his wheat crop, he is likely to have fewer problems the following spring. With the warm winters we’ve had the past two years, that’s even more likely happen,” the North Carolina State scientist says.

This year North Carolina grain farmers harvested 870,000 acres of wheat. With prices good and confidence high, Dan Weathington, executive director of the North Carolina Grain Growers Association, says he expects 950,000 acres this coming season, and wouldn’t be surprised to see a million acres.

The rise in wheat acres, combined with more than a million acres of soybeans in the Tar Heel state, may encourage more growers to take a look at year-round weed control measures.

“One of the biggest issues with using herbicides in a double-crop situation is moisture,” Everman says.