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Overcoming Weed Challenges

Having and maintaining weed-free fields is crucial when growing sunflowers.

Whether it’s kochia and wild buckwheat in western North Dakota, or marshelder, wild mustard or nightshade species in the eastern region of the state, there are many weeds that can challenge sunflower producers, says Dr. Brian Jenks, a Weed Scientist with North Dakota State University’s North Central Research Extension Center.

“If growers can start targeting those weeds in the fall with herbicide applications, they should be able to reduce the populations by at least 50 to 80 percent. Sometimes, when all the stars line up, they might do even better than that,” he says.

Although herbicide-tolerant production systems, such as, Clearfield, Clearfield Plus or ExpressSun, are excellent tools for controlling weeds post-emergence, Jenks advises producers combine them with soil-applied herbicides to control spring annuals. Furthermore, he maintains producers should not count on post-emergence herbicides to control all weeds in-season.

“By using soil-applied and post-applied herbicides, we’re going to control the weeds earlier, we’ll have better overall control, and we’re also going to manage or prevent resistant weed development by having multiple modes of action,” says Jenks.

Nuseed’s Technical Agronomist, Alison Pokrzywinski, agrees. She says yields will be better without competition from spring annuals controlled by a soil-applied, pre-emergent herbicide.

“By planting a hybrid with a herbicide-tolerant trait you have more options. If the fall application or pre-emergent did the job, great. If you still have a weed problem in-season, you can manage it,” says Pokrzywinski.

Herbicide Timing Video – Alison Pokrzywinski | Nuseed’s Technical Agronomist

To read more about what Jenks and Pokrzywinski have to say about the best ways to overcome weed challenges read the complete article in Nuseed’s 2019 annual issue of SUCCEED – Overcoming Weed Challenges.

Sunflower growers have options when it comes to controlling common weeds in sunflowers.

To see herbicide options refer to the HERBICIDE RATINGS FOR COMMONS WEEDS.