Do Not Forget About Barnyardgrass

Jason Bond, Research/Extension Weed Scientist
By Jason Bond, Research/Extension Weed Scientist and Tom Eubank, Research/Extension Weed Scientist April 27, 2012 08:26

Do Not Forget About Barnyardgrass

Since the Clearfield rice technology was commercialized, the percentage of acres planted to Clearfield varieties has increased each year.  Clearfield varieties represented approximately 65% of Mississippi rice in 2011.  One of the stewardship guidelines for Clearfield rice states, “Do not plant Clearfield rice in consecutive years in the same field”.  Simple math suggests this is improbable when the majority of acres contain Clearfield varieties.

Barnyardgrass resistant to Newpath was confirmed in Sunflower County, Mississippi, in 2010.  Two additional Newpath-resistant populations were identified in Bolivar and Washington counties in 2011.  The problem would likely have been more widespread last year, but Mississippi rice acres decreased by 48% from 2010 to 2011 and are forecasted to decline by another significant percentage in 2012.

Most barnyardgrass control programs in corn, cotton, and soybean production are based on glyphosate.  Every year there are numerous complaints about poor barnyardgrass control with glyphosate.  Among the causes of poor glyphosate performance on barnyardgrass are improper application timing, poor spray water quality (pH or hard water), new emergence following application, or dry conditions.  Several barnyardgrass populations have been screened for potential glyphosate resistance since 2008.  All of these populations have been controlled with glyphosate in the greenhouse.  However, it is common to hear that a higher glyphosate rate is required to control barnyardgrass than in years past.

In the Roundup Ready age, a rice-soybean rotation has been a good tool for managing barnyardgrass.  With some exceptions, glyphosate has reliably controlled barnyardgrass in most situations, so the herbicide modes of action used for barnyardgrass control in rice have only occasionally been utilized in soybean.  Furthermore, where glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth is a problem, products containing S-metolachlor (Dual Magnum, Boundary, Prefix, Sequence) are used extensively.  S-metolachlor provides good to excellent residual control of barnyardgrass, so barnyardgrass is often controlled as a result of efforts to control glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth.  Rotating crops and herbicide modes of action as well as utilizing residual herbicides are all excellent resistance management techniques.

Annual grass in wheel tracks in soybean field.

When crop rotation is used as a tool to manage a particular weed species, then care should be taken to completely control that weed in the rotational crop.  For instance, if glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth is not controlled in the corn year of a cotton-corn rotation or if it is allowed to grow and produce seed after corn harvest, then the positive benefits of using corn to reduce the Palmer amaranth population are negated.  The same concept holds true for barnyardgrass control in a rice-soybean rotation.  If barnyardgrass is left uncontrolled in the soybean crop, grows up in wheel tracks as in the photograph, or is not managed after harvest, it will have to be dealt with during the following year’s rice crop.

With no new herbicide modes of action under development and increasing problems with resistance to current herbicide modes of action, next year’s crop must be considered when controlling weeds this year.  Barnyardgrass is the most troublesome weed in rice.  Barnyardgrass that is allowed to survive and produce seed in the soybean rotation year can cripple a rice weed control program the following year.  So, weed control in next year’s rice crop starts with a good plan for managing this year’s soybean crop.  Fewer barnyardgrass escapes means less seed production, which in turn could impact herbicide applications in next year’s rice crop.

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Jason Bond, Research/Extension Weed Scientist
By Jason Bond, Research/Extension Weed Scientist and Tom Eubank, Research/Extension Weed Scientist April 27, 2012 08:26
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