How to Manage Kochia in Wheat

FBN Network

Jan 26, 2024

Kochia (Kochia scoparia), frequently referred to as burning bush, is an invasive weed with a significant threat potential to wheat crops. 

Kochia affects wheat in several ways:

Competition for Resources

Kochia competes aggressively with wheat for essential resources. It can rapidly deplete the soil of nutrients and moisture, leaving less available for the wheat plants. This competition can stunt wheat growth and reduce grain yield.

Alteration of Crop Physiology

Kochia can also alter the physiology of wheat plants. The dense canopy formed by Kochia can shade wheat plants, reducing their photosynthetic ability. This can lead to reduced plant vigor and lower grain quality.

Harboring Pests and Diseases

Kochia can serve as a host for pests and diseases that harm wheat. For example, it can harbor the wheat curl mite, which transmits wheat streak mosaic, a serious disease.

Interference with Harvesting

Mature Kochia plants can interfere with wheat harvesting. The large, bushy plants can clog machinery, leading to increased harvest time and costs.

This post will outline:

  • How to identify Kochia 

  • Geographic impact of Kochia

  • Timing of Kochia 

  • How to manage Kochia in wheat

How to Identify Kochia 

The first step towards managing Kochia is identifying its presence in your wheat field. 

Kochia, a bushy annual weed, can grow up to 7 feet tall. It features a deep taproot and a highly branched stem. 

The leaves are small, narrow, and alternate along the stem, with a hairy surface. The green flowers are inconspicuous, appearing in clusters in the leaf axils.

Kochia presence often manifests as patches of wheat that appear stunted or yellowed. As the weed matures, it turns a distinctive reddish color, making it easier to spot in a green wheat field.

Geographic Impact of Kochia

Kochia thrives in a wide range of soil types and climates. It has been a persistent problem for wheat farmers worldwide, particularly in North America, Europe, and certain regions of Asia. It is especially common in the Great Plains region of the United States and the Prairie Provinces of Canada. 

Timing of Kochia 

Kochia is a warm-season weed, typically emerging in the spring and early summer. However, it can continue to germinate throughout the growing season if conditions are favorable.

How to Manage Kochia in Wheat

Early identification and management of this weed are crucial to minimizing its impact on wheat yield and quality. Farmers are encouraged to adopt integrated weed management strategies, including crop rotation, use of certified seed, timely application of herbicides, and regular field scouting to control Kochia effectively.

To manage Kochia in wheat, consider two recommended products: 

  • Post-emergence: Huskie® Herbicide with an application rate of 12 oz per acre, with a range of 11-15 oz per acre. 

  • Post-emergence: Fancy

  • Post-harvest: Willowood Paraquat 3SL with an application rate of 2 U.S. liquid pints per acre, with a range of 1.3–2.7 pints per acre.

For a post-season or crop-termination option, Willowood Paraquat 3SL, an herbicide that contains Paraquat dichloride, is labeled for use with wheat specifically for managing Kochia. It is available from FBN

Remember, these rates are general recommendations. Always read and follow the specific instructions on the product label for accurate application rates and guidelines.

Crop Protection from FBN

Proactively scouting for and responding to weed presence in your fields will help reduce potential crop damage and improve yield. FBN has a wide variety of effective herbicides to help address agronomic pressures and keep your operation on track. 

With transparent pricing, straightforward online ordering, detailed product labels and fast direct-to-farm delivery, FBN can help you get the products you need to protect your crops.

Related Resources

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FBN Network

Jan 26, 2024