ARDMORE, Okla. — Although it is too late to spray for most summer pasture weeds, agricultural producers can act now to improve their weed control program for next year by taking a weed inventory.

At this stage in the growing cycle, weeds are large enough to see, and most will have seed heads or fruiting parts that make them easier to identify. “If you have a lot of weeds in a certain place this year, you will probably have them again in that place next year,” said Eddie Funderburg, Ph.D., senior soils and crops consultant. “Taking a weed inventory allows you to target the difficult spots, prepare for them and develop a plan that can save money.”

Conducting a weed survey begins by identifying the species and abundance of each weed. The abundance rating system can be as simple as “few,” “many,” “scattered,” or similar descriptions. Producers should then mark this information on a field map and highlight areas where there are hard-to-control weeds or particularly high numbers of weeds. “Accurately identifying areas that can be spot-sprayed will save time and money by not spraying the entire field,” Funderburg said.

Next, farmers and ranchers should locate areas on the map where they do not want to spray any, or certain, herbicides. For example, producers may not want to spray near clovers or areas with certain wildlife value.

Once a weed inventory has been conducted, producers can sit down and work out a spray plan and budget that includes the correct herbicides to use and when to use them. “Many of the weed control failures we see are due to using incorrect products for the targeted weeds or spraying at the wrong time,” Funderburg said. “Taking a weed inventory can ensure that you spray what you want to spray, where you want to spray and control what you want to control.”