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Weed competition steals wheat yield

Published on: 17:22PM Apr 20, 2010
Gordon Vail
I’ve mentioned the importance of herbicide application timing to control competitive weeds in corn and soybean to protect yield. And similar practices can help protect wheat yield. Although the window of application is wider with some herbicides, timely applications are still critical. 
According to research from North Dakota State University, the time of removal of wild oats in spring wheat can make a big difference in yield. Wild oats that emerge with the crop and are removed at the 3-leaf stage can cut yield 8 to15%. But, if those same weeds are left until the 5-leaf stage, yield loss reaches 25 to 35%. Wild oats left until the flag leaf stage cut yield 65 to 75%. 

That’s a big difference.
Scouting and careful timing are also important because spraying before the 3-leaf stage with a herbicide that doesn’t have residual activity leaves the crop vulnerable to later flushes of wild oats.
Every crop has a critical development period when it is most vulnerable to yield loss. Make sure that’s the point in time you are protecting them.