Plan ahead to manage weeds, pests in pastures | TSLN.com

Plan ahead to manage weeds, pests in pastures

Photo by Amanda RadkeGrasshoppers have been a major problem in western South Dakota. Sweet clover in pastures have aided grasshopper populations, but they're also attracted to winter wheat and alfalfa, too.

The grazing season is just around the corner, and that means checking pastures and making plans to manage the land. Weeds and pests can quickly get out of control, causing problems for summer grazing.

Ron Moehring, state weed and pest supervisor for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA), offers some advice for producers to consider when managing their pastures.

“The biggest thing right now is to watch for weeds coming up,” says Moehring. “Producers need to know where they are and get them taken care of as soon as possible. Look for things that don’t belong such as leafy spurge and musk thistles, and establish a spray program for noxious weeds and gum weeds, too.”

Moehring recommends using a broad spectrum herbicide to cover the weeds. Products such as Milestone, Tordon or ForeFront work well, he says.

“Once you have identified which weeds are in your pasture, make sure you know which chemical is most effective for the weeds that you have,” advises Moehring. “Not knowing what you have is one of the biggest mistakes people make. For example, leafy spurge can often be mistaken for yellow toadflax in the early growth stages. These are easily confused, but the two require totally different types of control.”

The South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension Extra publication offers photos and a list of identifying features for all noxious weeds to assist producers in making a correct identification. Of course, an extension educator can always help with this process, or the weed can be sent to SDSU for identification.

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“With today’s technology, a producer can take a photo of the weed on his phone and send it along very easily to be identified,” says Moehring. “Digital photos make this quick and easy, so the producer doesn’t have to make a special trip to town for help.”

Once the weed has been discovered and the correct chemical has been chosen, it’s time for producers to get out to the pasture and take care of the problem. One thing that is often overlooked is safety. Each year, people are injured or killed while spraying for weeds because they tip their four-wheelers.

“Always be aware of your terrain while on your ATV,” says Moehring. “Be careful while driving through the pasture with a heavy sprayer full of chemicals on the back of your four-wheeler. Also, be sure to read the label on your chemicals and follow the directions exactly.”

Another common mistake producers make is if the label calls for one spray, they think two or three sprays on the weed is better. Moehring says this can cause a lot of frustration when producers don’t see the results they are looking for.

“Sometimes less is more,” says Moehring. “If you put too much chemical on the weed, it burns the plant and doesn’t get down to the root. Then the plant grows back.”

Once sprayed, he recommends producers create a map for where the weeds are to assist in checking results later in the season.

“If you find them now and spray them, a map helps you go back and check on the weeds,” says Moehring. “You can spend a whole lot of time looking through an entire pasture for the weeds.”

Time is something ranchers are often short of, especially in the busy spring and summer months where calving, haying and fixing fence take hours out of the day.

“I always say the best time to spray for weeds is as soon as you can,” says Moehring. “State law prevents the weeds from going to seed. Generally, the best time to spray for weeds is when people are busy putting up hay. If you run out of time, producers can spray before the weeds go to seed in the fall. Mid-September to early October are good times, as well.”

The grazing season is just around the corner, and that means checking pastures and making plans to manage the land. Weeds and pests can quickly get out of control, causing problems for summer grazing.

Ron Moehring, state weed and pest supervisor for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA), offers some advice for producers to consider when managing their pastures.

“The biggest thing right now is to watch for weeds coming up,” says Moehring. “Producers need to know where they are and get them taken care of as soon as possible. Look for things that don’t belong such as leafy spurge and musk thistles, and establish a spray program for noxious weeds and gum weeds, too.”

Moehring recommends using a broad spectrum herbicide to cover the weeds. Products such as Milestone, Tordon or ForeFront work well, he says.

“Once you have identified which weeds are in your pasture, make sure you know which chemical is most effective for the weeds that you have,” advises Moehring. “Not knowing what you have is one of the biggest mistakes people make. For example, leafy spurge can often be mistaken for yellow toadflax in the early growth stages. These are easily confused, but the two require totally different types of control.”

The South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension Extra publication offers photos and a list of identifying features for all noxious weeds to assist producers in making a correct identification. Of course, an extension educator can always help with this process, or the weed can be sent to SDSU for identification.

“With today’s technology, a producer can take a photo of the weed on his phone and send it along very easily to be identified,” says Moehring. “Digital photos make this quick and easy, so the producer doesn’t have to make a special trip to town for help.”

Once the weed has been discovered and the correct chemical has been chosen, it’s time for producers to get out to the pasture and take care of the problem. One thing that is often overlooked is safety. Each year, people are injured or killed while spraying for weeds because they tip their four-wheelers.

“Always be aware of your terrain while on your ATV,” says Moehring. “Be careful while driving through the pasture with a heavy sprayer full of chemicals on the back of your four-wheeler. Also, be sure to read the label on your chemicals and follow the directions exactly.”

Another common mistake producers make is if the label calls for one spray, they think two or three sprays on the weed is better. Moehring says this can cause a lot of frustration when producers don’t see the results they are looking for.

“Sometimes less is more,” says Moehring. “If you put too much chemical on the weed, it burns the plant and doesn’t get down to the root. Then the plant grows back.”

Once sprayed, he recommends producers create a map for where the weeds are to assist in checking results later in the season.

“If you find them now and spray them, a map helps you go back and check on the weeds,” says Moehring. “You can spend a whole lot of time looking through an entire pasture for the weeds.”

Time is something ranchers are often short of, especially in the busy spring and summer months where calving, haying and fixing fence take hours out of the day.

“I always say the best time to spray for weeds is as soon as you can,” says Moehring. “State law prevents the weeds from going to seed. Generally, the best time to spray for weeds is when people are busy putting up hay. If you run out of time, producers can spray before the weeds go to seed in the fall. Mid-September to early October are good times, as well.”

The grazing season is just around the corner, and that means checking pastures and making plans to manage the land. Weeds and pests can quickly get out of control, causing problems for summer grazing.

Ron Moehring, state weed and pest supervisor for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA), offers some advice for producers to consider when managing their pastures.

“The biggest thing right now is to watch for weeds coming up,” says Moehring. “Producers need to know where they are and get them taken care of as soon as possible. Look for things that don’t belong such as leafy spurge and musk thistles, and establish a spray program for noxious weeds and gum weeds, too.”

Moehring recommends using a broad spectrum herbicide to cover the weeds. Products such as Milestone, Tordon or ForeFront work well, he says.

“Once you have identified which weeds are in your pasture, make sure you know which chemical is most effective for the weeds that you have,” advises Moehring. “Not knowing what you have is one of the biggest mistakes people make. For example, leafy spurge can often be mistaken for yellow toadflax in the early growth stages. These are easily confused, but the two require totally different types of control.”

The South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension Extra publication offers photos and a list of identifying features for all noxious weeds to assist producers in making a correct identification. Of course, an extension educator can always help with this process, or the weed can be sent to SDSU for identification.

“With today’s technology, a producer can take a photo of the weed on his phone and send it along very easily to be identified,” says Moehring. “Digital photos make this quick and easy, so the producer doesn’t have to make a special trip to town for help.”

Once the weed has been discovered and the correct chemical has been chosen, it’s time for producers to get out to the pasture and take care of the problem. One thing that is often overlooked is safety. Each year, people are injured or killed while spraying for weeds because they tip their four-wheelers.

“Always be aware of your terrain while on your ATV,” says Moehring. “Be careful while driving through the pasture with a heavy sprayer full of chemicals on the back of your four-wheeler. Also, be sure to read the label on your chemicals and follow the directions exactly.”

Another common mistake producers make is if the label calls for one spray, they think two or three sprays on the weed is better. Moehring says this can cause a lot of frustration when producers don’t see the results they are looking for.

“Sometimes less is more,” says Moehring. “If you put too much chemical on the weed, it burns the plant and doesn’t get down to the root. Then the plant grows back.”

Once sprayed, he recommends producers create a map for where the weeds are to assist in checking results later in the season.

“If you find them now and spray them, a map helps you go back and check on the weeds,” says Moehring. “You can spend a whole lot of time looking through an entire pasture for the weeds.”

Time is something ranchers are often short of, especially in the busy spring and summer months where calving, haying and fixing fence take hours out of the day.

“I always say the best time to spray for weeds is as soon as you can,” says Moehring. “State law prevents the weeds from going to seed. Generally, the best time to spray for weeds is when people are busy putting up hay. If you run out of time, producers can spray before the weeds go to seed in the fall. Mid-September to early October are good times, as well.”

editor’s note: for information on grasshoppers, link to http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/grasshopper/index.shtml. to learn more about identifying noxious weeds and finding the correct herbicides, check out http://www.sdstate.edu/ps/extension/weed-mgmt/noxious-invasive.cfm. these documents can be downloaded through itunes for easy access.

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