I’ve got weeds in my food plot? Can I plant directly into the rye/winter wheat mix to serve as a weed suppressant?

By GrowingDeer,

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Question: Last fall, I planted the ‘Buffalo Blend’ into standing soybeans and associated weeds, as I didn’t spray the RR soybeans…too many bees and other living creatures, and I’m attempting to wean myself from any herbicide. At the present time, I have winter rye and winter wheat standing ~ 12-18” tall. I’m waiting to plant the Green Cover “Warm Season” mix, which will likely occur in early June. I’m wondering if I can plant directly into the rye/winter wheat mix, as I know winter rye (living) can act as a weed suppressant. I’m really hoping not to use glyphosate to terminate what is currently living (winter rye/wheat) but I was wondering about your thoughts on this, as I value your input.


Answer: I don’t blame you for wanting to discontinue using herbicides.  I view them as a tool which is needed from time to time.  This may be one of the times when a herbicide is the appropriate tool.  Cereal rye and other small grains almost always produce a lot of viable seed.  If such plants are allowed to mature, the seeds will fall after maturing and then germinate soon.  This will be mid summer which isn’t an appropriate time to plant cereal rye.

Another consideration is that waiting for this crop to mature and allow enough sun to reach the soil will make planting the Summer Release blend late and then it won’t mature in time for the fall crop to be planted.
In this case, I believe you should strongly consider using a herbicide to terminate the current crop and weeds and establish the summer crop in a timely manner.