From Across the Field – New “Normal”

March came in like a lion, and went out just the same. Who would have thought we’d be talking snow going into April, especially after a fairly nice week? That brings to question, what does a “normal” spring looks like? Going into what will be my third planting season here in Henry County, the normal I know has been by in large wet and cool.

I may have wrote about this before, but according to our State Extension Climatologist Aaron Wilson, in the past 15 years we have lost five field working days in the month of April, as well as five in October. With planting being the most timely operation on the farm, those work days in April are valuable to growers.

I’ve been thinking in April, as plants (hopefully) begin to green up, that I’d highlight a “Weed of the Week.” This week let’s take a look at crabgrass. Crabgrass is a summer annual that tends to take advantage of thin spots in your yard where sunlight can reach the soil. Smooth crabgrass emerges in the spring before large crabgrass.  Smooth crabgrass emergence begins slowly when soil temperatures in the upper inch of soil reaches 54F for seven days and moisture is available.  This 54F soil temperature occurs many times when the dogwood begin to flower and the forsythia flowers begin to fade. For reference, the soil temperature at OARDC in Hoytville yesterday was about 37F, so we still have time to get ahead of crabgrass germination.

There are both pre and post emergence herbicides that are approved for crabgrass control. Any time we can prevent germination with a pre-emerge herbicide it is often more effective than trying to control weeds once they are established.

If you have used preemergence crabgrass preventer for many years and have successfully controlled the crabgrass, it may be wise to stop applying the crabgrass preventer and scout to see whether any crabgrass will emerge.  If it does emerge then apply a postemergence herbicide.  Crabgrass can be controlled with some postemergence herbicides, but timing and rate are very important to effectively control crabgrass.  Effective postemergence herbicides include Dimension, Methar 30, Acclaim Extra, MSMA Turf Herbicide, and Drive 75 DF, but some of these may be difficult to obtain.   As with any pesticide read the label to see if crabgrass is one of the species that the chemistry will control.

Being that we are on the downhill slide of winter meetings, I wanted to mind folks of the remaining two weeks of Beef School, held at Crossroads Church in Napoleon. Next Monday, April 8th the discussion will focus on feedlot nutrition and implant strategies. If you are raising freezer beef, dairy beef, or colored cattle this program is for you. Following that discussion the 25th we will be discussion cattle marketing strategies. I’ll end this week with a quote from Plato: “Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.” Have a great week.

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