Crop Villains Lurking in Your Operation
There are many different types and brands of herbicides in today’s fields. Making sure that the right herbicide is being used, is a safety measure that farmers are trying to implement to ensure a safer crop and end-product. In an ever growing and fast changing world, with different health groups and regulations knocking at our doors it is ever more so important that the right herbicides are being used.
By spraying plants that may not be listed on the chemical label, one may be creating a “Super Weed”. A “Super Weed”, described by North Carolina State Extension, became an issue when the wrong herbicides were being used to treat weeds in crop fields and those around everyday life. In other words, they are herbicide resistant weeds. Farming systems that use the same herbicide and pesticide treatments, year-after-year, will more than likely begin to deal with resistance. One of the best practices to avoid the pesticide and herbicide resistance, or “Super Weed”, is to rotate applications year-to-year, or by including additional modes of action within the season.
The first step in choosing what herbicide to use is by identifying what weeds are present. Try using a map of your fields and scouting. As you go, mark on the map what species is present and the abundance of it.
The next factor in herbicide consideration is to access soil characteristics. Application rates may need to be adjusted depending upon soil type, texture, and organic matter living within the soil. Failure to adjust could mean crop injury, poor weed control, and profit loss. Each state’s Department of Agriculture obtains soil sample reports and can assist in analyzing different soil types. The Agronomic Division of North Carolina Department of Agriculture suggests that herbicide activity is more closely related to humic matter content than organic matter in the soil. Most herbicide labels however, base their application rates on organic matter content. To determine the best solution, one might want to consider scouting fields for weeds, and doing a soil test within their fields.
And finally, it’s important to know the chemical selection. Before selecting and using a herbicide, one needs to know what rate to apply, how to apply, what weeds are controlled by certain products, injury potential of crops, precautions, and rotational limitations. If unsure on what to select, most Extension agents have computer software to help select the chemical program that is right for you.
Choosing the wrong herbicide could be detrimental to an operation. It is best that one studies up on their soil type, weed problem, and know their chemicals. Practicing smart application can save a farmer from crop loss, profit loss, and “Super Weeds” for not only his generation but generations to come.
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