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Yellow Foxtail (Setaria glauca L.)

Crop Impacts: Barley, corn and dry beans

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About Yellow Foxtail:

Yellow Foxtail is an annual grass that reproduces by the spread of its seeds. It is native to Europe but has made its way into the fields of North America. The flowers and bristles that come off the tip of the grass can cause infection in livestock’s eyes, nose and mouth.

Family: Grass Family (Gramineae)

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Yellow Foxtail Scouting and Prevention:

The stem of a Yellow Foxtail is typically rounded and stand at about 4ft. tall. The leaf blades are about 2 to 12 inches long with a spiral twist on most of them. The top of the leaves are hairless, aside from the long hairs that grow from the base and lower edges of the plant. The flower heads are yellow to reddish, densely packed, and shaped like a spike with a bristly appearance. The bloom of these flowers takes place from June to December.

Common locations

  • - Moist soil
  • - Barley fields
  • - Corn fields
  • - Dry beans


Prevention of Yellow Foxtail is less expensive and less time-consuming then trying to control it. Make sure when you seed a new area that you do so with certified weed-free seeds. Yellow Foxtail competes well with row crops such as soybeans and corn fields, meaning that a good crop rotation having solid stand crops like grasses or legumes can help contribute to control and/or prevention of this weed. If there is an infested area on your property, be sure to drive around instead of through it. Make sure to give all equipment that has been in infested fields a good clean so that no seeds are transferred. For a pre-emergent herbicide control, it can be done by several active ingredients such as benefine, bensulide and dithiopyr.

Yellow Foxtail Control:

It is recommended to use a combination of both chemical and cultural control methods for controlling Yellow Foxtail in your row crop fields.

Cultural Control

A cost effective way to prevent Yellow Foxtail from spreading is to mow infested areas before the grass produces seeds. Here are a few steps that may be able to help you control this particular weed.

  • - Do the recommendations given to you by the soil test
  • - The field should be planted with high-yield varieties in narrow rows with high plant population as soon as ideal soil and weather conditions are met
  • - Provide nutrients necessary for development of an early canopy and a fast, hearty crop growth

Chemical Control

Due to the fact that Yellow Foxtail germinates throughout the summer, full-season control is very difficult. If you apply herbicides very early in the season, more times than not it will lose its effectiveness when the Yellow Foxtail reaches peak germination. As a result, Yellow Foxtail causes more problems in fields that are planted early in the season. The recommended post-emergent herbicide control can be done using MSMA or quinclorac, which are active ingredients in labeled products. Depending on your location, Yellow Foxtail could be resistant to Trianzine (WSSA group 5) herbicides.

Latin / Alternative Yellow Foxtail names:

  • - Setaria glauca (L.) Beauv.
  • - Sétaire glauque
  • - Bottle brush
  • - Bottle grass, Bristle grass
  • - Millet
  • - Pigeon grass

Additional Yellow Foxtail Resources