Although it’s still too early to put a cap on the winter of 2011–12, for most parts of the Midwest, this year’s winter weather has been anything but wintery. And that has weed watchers putting out a word of caution: Early-season weed populations could be above normal, and weeds could reach advanced growth stages much earlier than usual. Farmers may need to purchase more weed control products and purchase them earlier this year.

“For weeds, this has so far been an ideal winter,” says Sarah Gehant, agronomic service representative with Syngenta. “We are seeing some additional growth and a thicker carpet of weeds. The percentage of weed seeds germinating is now pretty high, and they are getting an early start. So this means that not only will there be more weeds to control, but they will be taller.”