Weed management is a year-round job, but producers take special care to make sound management decisions prior to planting, and that includes cover crop burndown.

According to information from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES), Alabama Extension Weed Scientist David Russell offers suggestions for planting into a weed-free field and maintaining a clean corn crop throughout the growing season. Russell’s areas of specialization include corn, soybeans, small grains, forages, and non-crops.

“When you think about the time of year we begin planting corn, producers will deal with cool-season annual and perennial weeds,” Russell said. “The majority of the questions I receive are about annual ryegrasses. It probably tops the list as the most problematic.”

Corn is a grass crop, and Russell said one of the most difficult parts of his job is removing grassy weeds from grass crops.

But he notes that burndown is important. Most acres in Alabama are getting a pre-plant herbicide application. Recent research indicates a measurable drop in yield in fields where burndown did not occur within three to four weeks ahead of planting.

More information on pre-plant burndown and corn weed management can be found in the Alabama Crops Report. There you can also find information on chemistries and application times, as well as updates on auxin training.