He has weed management strategies for each crop he grows, but they are just individual parts of an overall farm weed management approach. And he has records in his truck going back a dozen years on what works, he says, but more importantly he keeps careful notes of what didn’t work good enough.

All his fields are pretty much irrigated, which is a big-plus tool to use to fight weeds. Irrigation makes sure he can water in his residual herbicides when they need to be activated without depending on the fickle whims of Mother Nature to do it.

But the opposite of that was a problem this year.

Rain drenched the region this spring and summer in near-record amounts. Upwards of 50 inches, or pretty much an average-year’s worth, dropped March through August.

The excessive rain made the cantaloupe crop a disaster, pumping the melons with too much water and making it hard to harvest them in a timely manner. It also messed up weed management applications, but he adjusted and kept on it.

He had to throw some additional over-the-top herbicide sprays in his fields, spot spraying here and there. But even so, there’re still and always will be weed “escapes,” he said.

“You look out there and you see one growing and you say, ‘How the heck did that get there?’ but that’s when you have to go out there and hand weed. And I don’t mean you pull it up and leave it in the field. You have to get it out of the field,” he said.

Grimes isn’t one to brag. (He’s barely one to say too much of anything that really doesn’t need to be said.)

But for his weed management strategy, he gives credit where credit should go: He follows University of Georgia Extension weed management recommendations … to the letter. If someone wants to know exactly what he does, he says, from products used to timing to even hand weeding, call your local Extension office.

Brian Tankersley, UGA Extension director in Tift County, and UGA Extension Weed Specialist Stanley Culpepper both hold Grimes up as a good example of how aggressive weed management can payoff in Georgia.

The only problem is it is tough to do on-farm research on his place because of Grimes’ zero-weed tolerance policy.

Grimes welcomes research trials on his farm. “I like to see how something can work on the farm,” he said. “I don’t mind it (the research trials) as long as they don’t let the weed seed get out,” he said with a sly grin.

It costs money to keep weeds out of the picture in a picture now filled tighter with resistant-weed issues in Georgia.