Weedy soybeans

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Kill seeds before they become hard-to-kill weeds. That plan will be studied by Kevin Bradley with help from Missouri farmers.

The University of Missouri Extension weed specialist plans research on crushing seeds before they hit the ground, according to an Extension news release. Over time, that depletes soil seed banks.

The task is big. Some herbicide-resistant weeds grow several hundred thousand seeds or more per plant. Soon to arrive at the MU research farm is a Case IH combine with an attached “seed terminator.” The mill grinds seeds to dust. Tests in Australia with a similar system showed more than 90% of weed seed was not viable after exiting the terminator.

At the annual Pest Management Day July 9 at MU Bradford Research Center near Columbia, Bradley asked soybean farmers to volunteer to help. Bradley wants to test his idea and machine on weed-infested farm fields in Missouri. He’s looking for soybean fields of 50 to 80 acres, preferably no more than 100 miles from Columbia.

Bradley has spent his research career at MU since 2003 studying all kinds of weed controls, including chemicals. He recently shifted gears in his research to look for alternative controls for problem weed species.

In addition to the seed terminator machine, Bradley evaluated the impact of windrow burning.

Farmers wanting to cooperate can contact Bradley through their regional MU Extension agronomist.

Other MU research farm field days include Aug. 6 at Greenley Research Center in Novelty; Aug. 27 (morning), at Graves-Chapple Research Center, Rock Port; and Aug. 27 (evening), at Hundley-Whaley Center, Albany.