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To Control Weeds in Wheat and Barley

Dense populations of annual winter weeds can compete with wheat and barley in late fall and early spring and slow the rate of crop development, potentially reducing yield. If weeds like common chickweed, henbit, marestail, winter annual grasses and others emerge with the small grain and are left unchecked, the impact on yield could be significant.

In these situations, Extension agronomist Dwight Lingenfelter suggests it may make sense to kill these weeds in the fall rather than early spring. Harmony Extra is the most broad spectrum herbicide for broadleaf control, but resistant populations of common chickweed are becoming evident in parts of the state. In addition, there are several herbicides labeled for grass control in wheat, and fall is typically the best time to make an application. Make sure to include the necessary spray adjuvants.

Remember that cool (less than 50 degrees) cloudy days can reduce herbicide activity. Also, if you plan to frost-seed or drill a companion crop such as red clover in early spring it may be best to make a fall herbicide application to avoid certain issues with herbicide residuals affecting their establishment. However, even if products such as PowerFlex HL, Osprey, Dimetric and others are applied in the fall, their re-crop restrictions still prevent seeding of certain crops next spring.

Burndown herbicides for no-till small grains include dicamba, Gramoxone, glyphosate, Harmony Extra and Sharpen. Refer to the specific product label for more application information. The legitimate use of 2,4-D for burndown in wheat and other small grains is uncertain. None of the 2,4-D ester or amine labels specifies application just prior to small grain seeding or emergence. Some research suggests a minimum delay of seven-10 days after application at rates up to 1 pint/A 2,4-D ester. Since 2,4-D burndown in small grains is ambiguous at best, if injury occurs liability rests with the consultant or applicator. Check a current herbicide label for the latest use information.

To Explore Your Small Farm Dream

Farmers market vendors, farm stands, and u-pick fruit and vegetable farms are all agricultural businesses that started with an idea. Are you thinking about starting a farm business, but not sure how to get the ball rolling? If so, “Exploring the Small Farm Dream” is a course that may be helpful to you.

This nine-hour (three-evening sessions) course includes exploratory discussion, research tools and self-assessment activities. By the end of the class, you will decide on an action plan that works best for you and will have the tools and contacts to help you get started.

The course will be offered on three evenings — Oct. 30, Nov. 6 and Nov. 13 — at the Farm and Home Center at 1383 Arcadia Road, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

If you’re seeking a career change into food or farming, this course may be beneficial to you. Hobbyists and lifestyle farmers considering developing an informal pastime into a business should register. Recent retirees, or those planning to retire soon, who are thinking about starting a farm business should sign up. And immigrants with agricultural experience who want to start farming in the U.S. will also find value in this course. Others who would benefit include recent high school or college graduates exploring a career in agriculture, people inheriting a farm or taking over a farm from a family member, and people who have worked as a field hand or an apprentice on a farm.

Class discussions and activities are based on the Exploring the Small Farm Dream workbook developed by the New England Small Farm Institute. There will be opportunities to connect with a local farm business owner, agricultural professionals, and others interested in new farm enterprises. Participants will learn from qualified Penn State Extension educators about business planning, risk management and feasibility analysis.

The first session will review self-assessment and researching the farming landscape. Session two will assess resource and risk. And the third session will cover decision making and next steps.

For more information or to register, go to

To Learn About Strawberry Production

The Strawberry Growers School is an all-day workshop for both current and prospective strawberry growers eager to learn more about producing a healthy and profitable crop.

Experts from Pennsylvania and Maryland will educate attendees on all aspects of strawberry production.

Class will be held Friday, Nov. 15, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Berks County Ag Center, 1238 County Welfare Road, Leesport, Pennsylvania.

Topics that will be covered include production systems for Mid-Atlantic growers (matted row, plasticulture, day neutrals, stackers and high tunnel), pest and disease management, nutrition for high yields, weed management, soil health, food safety and marketing.

Pesticide credits will be offered pending approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

For more information or to register, call Extension registration support at 1-877-345-0691. Or register online

Registration deadline is Wednesday, Nov. 13.

Quote of the Week

“A hen does not quit scratching because the worms are scarce. She scratches that much more to make her living.”

— Suzanne Woods Fisher, author

Leon Ressler is a Penn State Extension educator based in Lancaster County.