Farm Progress article: Mike Plumer Offers Tips on Burndown of Annual Ryegrass

Tom Bechman (Farm Progress/Western Farmer-Stockman)
Feb 23, 2012

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The secret to bringing down annual ryegrass in a timely manner is understanding the plant and the chemicals you are applying to kill it, says Mike Plumer, a former University of Illinois agronomist who has researched cover crops for decades. Most people use glyphosate. To work glyphosate must be translocated in to the roots of the plant. These applications are often made during cool weather in the spring. Glyphosate doesn’t work as well when it is cool because it doesn’t translocate as well. This is not a place where you want to cut herbicide rates.

Plumer says that you can control the crop, and that you shouldn’t be afraid of it. Instead, determine that you are going to manage it and move forward. Plumer’s decades of experience with no-till and cover crops on his own farm in southern Illinois add to his credibility as someone who knows what they’re talking about when it comes to the benefits and challenges of cover crops.

The biggest tip Plumer offers is to pick the warmest day you can find that features lots of sunshine. Don’t spray before 8:30 t0 9 a.m. in the morning. The most crucial part is when you stop spraying annual ryegrass. He suggests that you shut down applying glyphosate by 1 p.m.

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