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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Oct 8, 2010

Two years ago I told about a weed that appeared in my soybean field that I had not seen before. I sent photos of it to my county Extension agent and he forwarded them to the Extension weed specialist at Iowa Sate University because he did not recognize the weed either.

The expert at ISU identified the weed as Asiatic dayflower. It is a late-season weed that Roundup does not seem to affect.

Another problem was that it stays green after all other weeds have died and dried up at season’s end. When the combine got to the patch of Asiatic dayflower two years ago, the green plants were a problem going through the combine.

It is just a little shorter than a soybean plant. You can not see it looking across a field. From the height of a combine cab, it can be easily seen, especially once the soybean plants have turned brown while the Asiatic dayflower is still green.

We could see two years ago that the combine had helped spread it from the previous year because the patch of Asiatic dayflower was about 1,000 square feet with a tail that pointed the direction the combine would have taken going through that patch of weeds.

The following year we grew corn in that field and aggressively went after the dayflower with any herbicide recommended by our elevator’s agronomist. We thought we had the situation in hand.

We learned differently last week when we combined the soybeans in that field. I got suspicious when I saw the Asiatic dayflower in the fence line at the east end of the field because the patch of dayflower we had seen two years ago was at the west end.

When we got to the problem area of two years ago, the patch was there and seemed to be somewhat larger. We went around the dayflower this year and left the soybeans because spreading the seed with a combine is another problem.

The elevator’s agronomist was surprised to see it there because he had been inspecting that area to check its spread last year and this year along with other fields where the combine had gone.

I found three dayflower plants growing in front of the shop about six weeks ago, probably planted when the combine was washed at season’s end.

We finished soybean harvest last Friday and the Asiatic dayflower and a broken driveshaft on the semi were the only two problems in what was an otherwise excellent soybean year.

What are we going to do about Asiatic dayflower? We are going to step up our herbicide program and go after it even more aggressively since it seems to be gaining in that one area of the field.

In the ’80s we were fighting hemp dogbane. Ten years ago it was woolly cup grass. No till soybeans showed me how much mare’s tail we had. Now it is Asiatic dayflower.

Those other weeds are still around, but are not a problem as we have them under control.

I thought woolly cup grass was going to take over the place 10 years ago, so I hope my fears about Asiatic dayflower do not materialize.

I wondered two years ago why I had to be the one to learn about Asiatic dayflower and to be the place where the agronomists gain additional experience. Why can’t I just grow corn and soybeans?

I am trying to be philosophical about this by saying that life is not fair and we all get handed things we did not ask for. Over time there will be an answer and we will move on to the next problem.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

It is hard to be philosophical when you are angry and disappointed. What I am really in the mood for is slamming some doors and testing my vocabulary of cuss words.

I am hearing in my head the opening lines of a Kris Kristofferson song that says, “Why me, Lord? What have I ever done?”

It was the same song I heard two years ago when I first learned about Asiatic dayflower.

The struggle continues. Stay tuned.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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