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Weed Management Strategies. Lily Lake Organic Farm Maple Park, IL Dave Campbell. Transition Steps. Emphasis on growing alfalfa / grass hay Strong horse hay market Erosion concerns Major weed issues First 3 – 5 years of transition. Benefits of Growing Legumes.

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Weed Management Strategies

Lily Lake Organic Farm

Maple Park, IL

Dave Campbell


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Transition Steps

  • Emphasis on growing alfalfa / grass hay

  • Strong horse hay market

  • Erosion concerns

  • Major weed issues

    • First 3 – 5 years of transition


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Benefits of Growing Legumes

  • Root systems increase infiltration of air and water into the soil

  • Tap roots break through soil hardpan allowing access to nutrients


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Benefits of Growing Grass

  • Rapid spring growth competes well with weeds

  • Best crop to plant for erosion control

  • Fibrous roots reduce frost heaving of alfalfa that is seeded with grass


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Concerns About Raising Hay

  • Best scenario – farm should contain livestock

  • Soil test at least every 3 years if no livestock manure is applied to farm

  • First choice – plant hay to fields with highest potassium levels


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Rotation at LLOF

  • Year 1 Oats or Winter Wheat / Red Clover

  • Year 2 Corn

  • Year 3 Soybeans


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Year 1 Oats or Winter Wheat / Red Clover

  • Fall seeded wheat

  • Frost seed medium red clover in March

    OR

  • Spring seeded oats

  • Seed red clover with oats


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Year 1 Oats or Winter Wheat / Red Clover

  • Mow bad weed patches

  • Hoe out or cut thistles

  • Run straw through straw chopper

  • Clip weeds in early September

  • Chisel plow in late fall


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General Tips on Weed Control in Oats and Wheat

  • Sow as early as possible, especially oats

  • Increase seeding rates a little higher then conventional rates

    • Especially for high test weight oats

  • May need to use a rotary hoe or tine weeder if early weed growth is heavy

  • Use clean seed only


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Year 2 - Corn

  • First pass – Field cultivator

    • Till in the moderate to shallow range

  • Second pass – Field cultivator

    • Till in the shallow range

  • Plant immediately after last tillage pass

  • Don’t plant until soil temperatures have warmed up


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Year 3 - Soybeans

  • Disk corn stalks in late April

    • Early germinating weeds are killed off by disking

  • Moldboard plow after next weed flush

    • Plowing buries many weed seeds


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Year 3 - Soybeans

  • Field is disked or field cultivated with drag harrow attached

  • Ground is field cultivated immediately before planting beans to eradicate weeds

  • Don’t plant until soil temperatures have warmed up


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Year 3 – Soybeans – After Harvest

  • Disk down ridges to level field

  • Lightly field cultivate with narrow shank cultivator

  • Sow winter wheat

  • Drag field to cover exposed wheat

  • Don’t do any fall tillage if sowing oats the following spring


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Rotary Hoeing Corn or Soybeans

  • First hoeing to take place 3-5 days after last tillage pass

  • Adjust tractor speed and hoeing depth when entering a new field

  • Second hoeing to take place 3-5 days after first hoeing


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Row Crop Cultivation:Corn or Soybeans

  • Usually cultivate 3 times

  • Cultivate with Buffalo cultivator

  • Disk hillers are used

  • Cultivision mirror is used


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General Tips on Weed Control in Corn & Soybeans

  • Wait until soil warms up and dries out before tilling and planting

  • Don’t plant right before a heavy rain is forecasted

  • Destroy crop when weeds have overtaken it

  • Timing is everything!


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General Tips on Weed Control in Corn & Soybeans

  • Use clean seed only

  • Plant a little heavier than intended to allow for loss of plants if needing to rotary hoe aggressively

  • Don’t take on a full-time job


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Suppressing Canada Thistle

  • Field cultivate every 2-3 weeks in the spring time before crop is planted

  • Mow thistles around entire farm before seed head opens

  • Talk with neighbors and/or local authorities if problem is off the farm


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Suppressing Canada Thistle

Smother and Starve Approach

  • Sow alfalfa or grass for 3 years or more

  • Sow buckwheat in a light to moderate infested field

  • Sow sorghum sudan grass in a moderate to heavy infested field


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