Late winter kochia control in fields going to corn or grain sorghum

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Last week, we shared some general information about applying pre-emergence herbicides for kochia control. This week, we are going to focus on specific recommendations for fields going to corn or grain sorghum this growing season. Next week, we’ll discuss fields going to soybean, sunflower, and wheat.

Kochia control in fields going to corn

Kochia starts emerging in mid-February to early March and continue its emergence through spring into summer (Figure. 1). Any effective kochia control plan for fields going to corn should include early spring application of a burndown herbicide with an effective soil-residual herbicide for controlling early flushes. For example, an application of dicamba alone can control susceptible kochia; however, a combination of 1 to 2 pints of atrazine and 8 to 16 oz. dicamba will control existing broadleaf and grass weeds and provide extended residual activity, often into late spring. This combination will address dicamba-resistant biotypes, but other options are needed for triazine-resistant biotypes.

Figure 1. A young kochia seedling in wheat residue. Photo by Sarah Lancaster, K-State Research and Extension.


A study published in 2019 by weed scientists from across the Great Plains reported excellent control (99%) of glyphosate-resistant kochia can be attained in corn by Degree Xtra followed by Impact, Verdict followed by Status, or Balance Flexx followed by Laudis + atrazine. Adding atrazine to group 27 herbicides like Balance Flexx or Laudis is likely to improve control. Data from Hays, KS are shown in Figure 2. All of the treatments evaluated provided acceptable control, except for Acuron applied pre-emergence followed by Liberty + Status + Atrazine. Corn yields ranged from 88 to 111 bushels/acre with the greatest yields obtained in Verdict + atrazine pre-emergence followed by: Liberty + Atrazine, Roundup + Armezon Pro + atrazine, Liberty + Status + atrazine, or Roundup + Status + atrazine; Resicore + atrazine applied pre-emergence followed by Durango + atrazine; and Acuron applied pre-emergence followed by Roundup + atrazine. Pre-emergence programs based on Verdict plus atrazine could also be considered for fields going to grain sorghum.


Figure 2. Kochia control in field studies conducted at Hays, KS. PRE, EPOST, and LPOST treatments were applied on April 23, June 11, and June 23, respectively. Similar letters indicate similar weed control.


Kochia control in fields going to sorghum

As sorghum planting in western Kansas generally resumes in mid-May, conserving soil moisture by controlling kochia and other weeds prior to sorghum planting is utmost important. Just like corn, kochia control in fields going to sorghum can be achieved with tank-mix application of dicamba (8 to 16 oz/a) with atrazine (1 to 2 pints/a) in early spring. If fields are infested with glyphosate-, triazine, and/or dicamba-resistant kochia, Sharpen (2 oz/a) or Gramoxone (2 to 4 pints/a) can also be used to control resistant kochia biotypes. An application of PRE herbicides such as DegreeXtra (64 to 96 oz/a) or Lexar (96 oz/a) at planting can help controlling kochia in sorghum for 4-5 weeks.

Reference: Sbatella et al. 2019



Sarah Lancaster, Weed Management Specialist

Tags:  kochia pre-plant herbicide weed control pre-emergence