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48. Don't Assume That No-till Requires More Herbicide

Effect of tillage systems on giant foxtail in untreated corn

When you change tillage systems, weed pressures change.

For instance, some weeds can increase in no-till-weeds such as foxtail, fall panicum, marestail, hemp dogbane, and common milkweed.

Effect of tillage systems on velvetleaf in untreated corn However, certain weed problems, such as velvetleaf, actually become less of a problem with no-till. But regardless of the changing weed pressures, university weed scientists have developed successful no-till systems using herbicides that give both burndown and residual control with little or no increase in herbicide use.
herbicide tank Some labels do call for slightly increased rates in no-till, compared to conventional tillage. But in some cases, you may be able to decrease herbicide use in no-till by taking advantage of certain cover crops or mulches. In these instances, it may be necessary to use more combinations of herbicides, such as contact herbicides plus preemergence or postemergence herbicides.
cultivating To some no-till farmers, doing any form of cultivation means you no longer have a no-till system. But other no-tillers see no problem with using some cultivation as needed. The drawback is that cultivation buries crop residue, reduces moisture conservation, and can create ridges and furrows that increase water runoff on sloping fields.

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