Episode 2

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Published on:

31st Mar 2020

Pre-Plant Herbicide Applications

Meet Ryan Ellis, a farmer from North Dakota. Ryan shares how he is preparing for the upcoming season. Dr. Brian Jenks, a weed scientist from the North Dakota State University, also joins us to discuss pre-plant options to control weeds in pulse crops.

Ryan Ellis farms about 5,000 acres with his father. They currently grow peas, lentils, soybeans, flax and forages. Ryan shares that growing pulse crops requires a lot of forethought and planning. There are not many post-emergent herbicide options that can be used with in-crop applications. Any chemical residue from the year before will also affect the potential of the next year's crop if a residue persists. 

“I generally plan out at least a rough idea of what I’m growing the following year based on what I spray the previous year.” - Ryan Ellis


Dr. Jenks shares that one great thing about pulse crop farmers in battling the weed populations is that they tend to have pretty diverse rotations. By varying planting dates, herbicide applications and harvest dates we avoid selecting for resistant varieties and traits of weeds. This system provides enough “diversity in the rotation and in the practices (which) helps to combat weeds.”


“The good thing about pulse growers is that most of them already have a good rotation or they’re working toward a good rotation...They typically have maybe even three or four or more crops in their rotation and that's a good thing.” - Dr. Brian Jenks


Both Ryan and Dr Jenks suggest a fall application of herbicide to better control the most common weed they face, Kochia. By applying in the fall and also the spring they are able to be more precise with their spraying and gain better control over time. Again, there are not many post-emergent herbicide options available for pulse crops, so being more aggressive earlier sets the farmer up for better success.


This Week on Growing Pulse Crops:

  • Meet Ryan Ellis, a North Dakota pulse crop farmer, and Dr. Brian Jenks, a Weed Scientist at North Dakota State University
  • Discover the importance of planning ahead when farming pulse crops
  • Learn different techniques for managing weed populations when herbicide use may be limited


Growing Pulse Crops Podcast is hosted by Tim Hammerich of the Future of Agriculture Podcast.

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About the Podcast

Growing Pulse Crops
The science and business of farming field peas, chickpeas, and lentils
Join us as we follow pulse crop farmers through the growing season and dive into the research that’s helping them through some of the challenges they face. We’ll also talk to a number of other industry stakeholders along the way.

Demand for these nutrient-dense, high-protein foods continues to grow. There is also interest from farmers to include more pulses into diverse rotations for benefits like nitrogen fixation and soil health.

But the industry continues to face challenges, and we are eager to address these head on. So if you’re a pulse grower or in any way interested in these important crops, hit subscribe and stay tuned for future episodes. We’ll be back with plenty of information about challenges pulse farmers are facing throughout the U.S. and what solutions are working.

Brought to you by the Pulse Crops Working Group with support from the North Central IPM Center and USDA NIFA.

About your host

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Tim Hammerich

I share stories about agriculture, agtech, and agribusiness on podcasts and radio.