Corn residue is becoming a management issue for no-till soybean growers. No-till planters and drills can have difficulty performing in fields with tangled corn residue that had not fully matured prior to harvest nor deteriorated as normal during the winter.
Vertical tillage helps manage residue but doesn’t control weeds
A vertical tillage pass in the fall or spring can keep corn residue from having a negative effect on the subsequent soybean crop. But According to Mike Cowbrough, weed specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), IP growers should not consider vertical tillage a weed
“We’re not really doing the vertical tillage for weed control,” says Cowbrough. “In fact, many of the vertical tillage tools in use will not provide much help in controlling weeds like dandelions or other perennials, broadleaf or grass seedlings, or established winter annuals. It’s a residue management pass, not a weed control treatment.”
Vertical tillage stimulates weed growth
Some IP growers have limited post-emergence options to control problem weeds like dandelions, yellow nutsedge, Eastern black nightshade and sow-thistle. Cowbrough says it vertical tillage either in the fall or as early in the spring as possible stimulates weed seeds to germinate and be controlled with a pre-plant weed control treatment. Having at least seven to 10 days between vertical tillage and planting provides a significant benefit from a combined burndown/residual soil-applied herbicide program applied pre-plant.
Use DuPont™ Guardian® or Guardian® Plus following vertical tillage
“Even if you do a vertical tillage treatment in the spring, following up with a treatment like Guardian®, Guardian® Plus , or glyphosate and Boundary will clean up perennial weeds, tough winter annuals, and annual broadleaf seedlings and grasses that survive the shallow tillage pass,” says Cowbrough.
The residual component helps keep high-value IP soybeans clean through the early part of the growing season when weed control is most critical.
Guardian® Plus combines the power of three different active ingredients. Flumioxazin provides residual control of Eastern black nightshade and other broadleaf weeds, plus suppression of green foxtail. The chlorimuron-ethyl (CE) component delivers knock-down and residual control of annual and perennial broadleaf weeds. And the third active ingredient is glyphosate.
Other benefits to vertical tillage
Even though vertical tillage is not a huge benefit on the weed control side, there are other benefits to this practice for IP producers who previously favoured a no-till approach:
- More yield: According to OMAFRA research, there can be a two-bushel per acre benefit to vertical tillage compared to no-tilling into corn stalks.
- More level planting: For no-till IP growers, the most significant benefit from vertical tillage may be a more level planting and harvesting surface.
- Less residue through the combine: A number of IP growers use vertical tillage to deal with the tough corn stalks.
Boundary® is a registered trademark of Syngenta Group Company.