Echinochloa crus-galli is an important noxious grassy weed with a long germination period from May to August. Barnyard grass emerges in several waves and is classified as an early to mid-season emerging annual with the ability to cause significant crop loss. Key identifying features of barnyard grass is the lack of any ligule and a flat and hairless leaf sheath.
The leaves of the seedling are glabrous (smooth, not hairy) and the base has a red tint.
The leaf blades and sheaths are hairless and blades can range from 8-60 cm long, with a white midrib. The stems grow erect, are thick, glabrous (without hair) and slightly red near base. The plant can grow up to 150 cm in height. Flowers are green and sometimes have a purple tinge, which can become a seed head terminal greater than 30 cm in length.
Optimal growth conditions
Barnyard grass prefers warm, moist, soil conditions. It may become a problem in irrigated row crops (e.g., sugar beets, potatoes) because the seeds float and are easily spread by flooding or by heavy irrigation.