Optimizing Applications

Sophisticated tank mixes, multiple adjuvants and surfactants — this is the future of herbicide application.

What was once an activity a trained monkey could likely complete with relative success, herbicide application has progressed into somewhat of an art form as resistant weeds challenge the skills of even the most seasoned applicators.

“You used to be able to just add anything to Roundup and — as long as something was spitting out of the nozzles — it probably worked. Now it’s all about gallons per acre and overall coverage, just making sure you are getting good coverage on the weeds,” says Tony VanOverschelde, agronomy manager, CHS Eastern Farmers, Brandon, SD.

With so many different products beyond glyphosate being introduced to the tank mix, compatibility agents are expected to continue their upward growth in sales over the next few years, according to adjuvant experts.
With so many different products beyond glyphosate being introduced to the tank mix, compatibility agents are expected to continue their upward growth in sales over the next few years, according to adjuvant experts.

Jeff Nagel, agronomist, Ceres Solutions, Terre Haute, IN, sees the issue in terms of ongoing education.

“When you get into glyphosate, you’re using systemic herbicides so you’re going to be using larger droplets,” he says. “What’s changing is where we have resistant waterhemp or Palmer amaranth, it’s all about the contact herbicides, so with those particular products we find ourselves having to reeducate some farmers and say ‘Hey, 10-12 gal./A isn’t sufficient, you need to be around 15-20 gal./A and use medium to coarse size droplets rather than just coarse to ultra-coarse.

“And coverage is the name of the game.”

Back To The Basics

Throughout nearly every walk-of-life, things typically tend to come full circle. In a world of resistant weeds, herbicide application is not spared from this fact, according to Kevin Bradley, weed scientist, University of Missouri.

“We’re trying to re-emphasize things that were done by my predecessors 50 or 60 years ago,” he says. “There are a number of researchers around the country that are going back and looking at different things, such as the effect of mow-board plowing, row spacing and soybean seeding rate — things I like to call cultural practices — it’s nothing new. We have data from decades ago that shows that these practices should be implemented with herbicide practices to get the best possible control.”

Adds VanOverschelde: “Roundup made spraying easy — now with resistance you need to pay more attention to tank mixes and adding stuff to Roundup. You’re concentrating on adjuvants and surfactants, spray tips and gallons per acre — whereas with Roundup you didn’t have to do any of that. It’s kind of what we were doing in the pre-Roundup days.”

Tank Mix Takeaways

Becoming well-versed in the various tank mixable products and their interactions with glyphosate is crucial in finding a solution to resistance, according to Nagel.

“We have a lot of (tank mix) postemergence choices in corn, and we’ve got the coming dicamba products and the pigment inhibitors, so we have tank mix partners that can help the glyphosate,” he says. “On the soybean side, especially when it comes to marestail, we don’t really have a great tank mix partner yet, and we’re getting variable performance — I call it suppression because it’s really not full control. Sometimes we’ll suppress the marestail for a while and right now it’s coming through the canopy.

“And then the adjuvant package a lot of times is different too,” Nagel continues. “You may have been adding AMS with glyphosate, but now you’re typically back to using high surfactant oil concentrates and/or a nitrogen (N) source of some sort.”

VanOverschelde agrees that the days of loading up a tank with straight glyphosate and hitting the field are mostly long gone. “We’re doing a lot of add-ins with Roundup. Rarely are we doing straight roundup on anything,” he says. “Roundup and FlexStar is one that pretty much is going on everything in our territory. In the past we were doing maybe 25% residuals and now our bean residuals are increasing. What you’re doing is just adding a couple modes of action.

“One thing with Roundup is you never really had to do planning,” VanOverschelde continues. “You just said ‘well I’ll spray it twice with Roundup’ and that’s really all the thought you put into it. Now you’ve got to plan for weed size, putting on a preemergence, the right tank mixes and so on. Planning wasn’t nearly as important as it is now.”

A Take On Tillage

Re-examining tillage practices and utilizing fall residual herbicides are additional ways a grower can regain some control over unruly fields, according to Nagel.

“We’re encouraging farmers to look at fall residual programs because you can actually do a fall herbicide program for no more, or sometimes even less dollars, than tank mixing in-crop to control marestail,” he says. “Also, I think these weeds do fairly well in reduced-tillage systems, so if you do aggressive tillage it tends to disrupt that fall growth — and you’re essentially controlling it with your tillage.”

Multiple adjuvants are also becoming a popular practice, as Precision Laboratories’ Jim Reiss, president, told us back in March.

“We’re seeing a significant increase in the number of acres that have combinations of two or three adjuvants in a single application,” says Reiss. “In the past, a lot of glyphosate acres received some type of water conditioning agent and drift control adjuvant premix. As more glyphosate acres include a companion herbicide or fungicide, that addition of a second product often drives the need for more adjuvancy to maximize performance and return on investment in the additional tank mix partner.”

“Unless we start changing our practices — as in adding more tank mixes, better planning and so on — it’s just something that’s not going to go away,” says Nagel. “Farmers, retailers — everyone just has to adjust to the situation.”

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Weed Resistance Stories

Weed ResistanceWeeds: The Fearsome Five
October 1, 2013
Although there are currently dozens of weeds that show some kind of resistance to herbicides, these five are the most troublesome. Read More
Weed ResistanceWeed Management Program Profiles
October 1, 2013
Here’s quick look at weed control strategies and their cost. Read More
Weed ResistanceRecognizing Resistance
October 1, 2013
Recognizing the presence of herbicide-resistant weeds and formulating a total management plan is becoming more important than ever. Read More
Mature Waterhemp in Corn
Weed ResistanceWhen Weed Control Goes Wrong
October 1, 2013
Beyond the possibility of resistance developing, ineffective control exacts cost to growers in lost yield. Read More

Trending Articles

CropLife 100Agrium To Cut 500 Jobs, Sell Some Businesses
November 11, 2014
Among the businesses Agrium will try to sell are its micronutrients and European UAN (urea-ammonium nitrate) lines. Read More
HerbicidesMonsanto, Sumitomo Chemical And Valent Extend Crop Protection Collaboration
November 10, 2014
The agreement extends their strategic partnership in Monsanto’s Roundup Ready PLUS Crop Management Solutions platform for soybeans and cotton in the U.S. Read More
FertilizerCorn Rootworm Hybrids And Potassium Uptake
November 4, 2014
To achieve successful yields, grower-customers can’t afford to cut back on their potassium use with corn rootworm hybrids, say experts. Read More
StewardshipResponsibleAg Begins Auditor Training
October 31, 2014
ResponsibleAg auditor training is now underway at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY. Read More
InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More

Latest News

Crop InputsSyngenta Cost-Cutting Program To Affect 1,800 Jobs
November 24, 2014
The company's Accelerating Operational Leverage program will result in job reductions and relocations totaling around 1,800 across the company, the majority of which will occur in 2015. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Announces Operator Of The Year Finalists
November 20, 2014
Four custom applicators have been selected by AGCO Application Equipment as finalists for 2014 Operator of the Year, an honor that recognizes them as being among the top professionals in their industry throughout North America. Read More
MicronutrientsH.J. Baker Expands Tiger-Sul Business
November 20, 2014
H.J. Baker has created and filled two strategic positions in business development and sales within its Crop Performance Division. Read More
soybean field
FertilizerGeneral Mills Honors United Suppliers For Nitrogen Opti…
November 19, 2014
United Suppliers winning proposal detailed SUSTAIN, a consulting network that provides customized products and services for farmers using a needs-based system approach. Read More
EmployeesOhio AgriBusiness Association Awards $25,000 In Scholar…
November 19, 2014
Each year, the Ohio AgriBusiness Association Educational Trust scholarship program awards scholarship dollars to students enrolled in an agriculture-related field attending several state colleges. Read More
ManagementServi-Tech Names New CEO
November 17, 2014
Servi-Tech has named Greg Ruehle its new president and CEO. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Ag Acquires Colorado Aerial Application Outlet
November 17, 2014
Ft. Lupton, CO-based Reck Aviation — a full-service chemical application company providing aerial crop applications of fertilizers and crop protection products — will operate as part of Pinnacle's AgOne Application Services brand. Read More
Eric SfiligojMcDonald’s Message: Biotech Crops Scarier Than Cancer
November 17, 2014
Despite their potential health benefits, one of the world’s largest potato users will pass on a new biotech offering. Read More
MicronutrientsWinField Releases 2014 NutriSolutions Results
November 14, 2014
A number of significant regional and national crop deficiency trends emerged from the 2014 WinField NutriSolutions tissue sampling program. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Opens Chinese Production Lines
November 14, 2014
The occasion was the official launch of the Tiger-Sul sulphur Bentonite production line of two much anticipated fertilizer products in China, T90CR sulphur fertilizer and TZinc micronutrient enhanced sulphur fertilizer. Read More
ManagementOhio Certified Crop Adviser Program Accepting Nominatio…
November 14, 2014
The award recognizes an individual who delivers exceptional customer service for farmer clients in nutrient management, soil and water management, integrated pest management and crop production in Ohio. Read More
HerbicidesSyngenta Announces Acuron Trial Plot Results
November 14, 2014
Acuron was tested at 167 trial locations across 35 states. Trials included 95 Syngenta locations, 54 university locations and 18 distributor locations. Read More
Crop InputsVerdesian Expands Sales Force
November 13, 2014
The new sales representatives will work with growers, retail partners and distributors to oversee technical training and product education. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Raises $100K For Wounded Warrior Project
November 13, 2014
AGCO Corp. partnered with local AGCO dealers across the U.S. and Canada to raise nearly $100,000 in support of wounded service veterans. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Announces Launch Of Enlist Duo Herbici…
November 12, 2014
It will be launched in conjunction with a stewarded introduction of Enlist corn, and seed production of Enlist soybeans in 2015. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Expands Tiger-Sul Business
November 12, 2014
Agricultural firm H.J. Baker has created and filled two strategic positions in business development and sales within its Crop Performance Division. Read More
Blenders13 Fertilizer Blenders For 2015
November 12, 2014
Dealers can find a fertilizer blender to deliver any speed, volume and custom mix they want. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Vice President Receives Honorary FFA Award
November 11, 2014
Jim Loar, vice president of operations of Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness Division, was awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree at the 2014 National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, KY. Read More