Published on Wed, 04/02/2014 by BASF Canada

Unpredictable weather calls for residual herbicides

Climatologists are predicting an average spring throughout most of Ontario and Quebec this year. But considering that the average spring in the region consists of a variety of temperatures and types of precipitation, it is anyone’s guess what the season will actually hold. This leaves growers guessing what to do to prepare fields for planting.

The crop is almost weatherproofed for winds that may come through later in the season, dry weather, or excessively wet weather.

“It is very difficult to predict the weather, so it is best to have a plan in place to manage weeds prior to planting,” says Rob Miller, Technical Development Manager for Eastern Canada at BASF. “The weather during the winter and early spring will have an impact on weed emergence. Using a soil-applied herbicide increases the flexibility of the in-crop herbicide application.  This strategy will be beneficial in the case of a wet spring, or when it is too windy to spray, which all helps with workload management.”

Miller recommends growers use a broad spectrum herbicide with multiple modes of action to help manage resistant weeds. “A soil-applied herbicide leads to more uniform weed emergence later in the season, making it easier to control weeds while they are smaller and actively growing,” he says.   

Paul Sullivan of Sullivan Agro outside of Ottawa agrees: “It sets up the crop for higher yield because it allows the crop to grow without any other issues that may arise later on in the season. The crop is almost weatherproofed for winds that may come through later in the season, dry weather, or excessively wet weather,” he says.

Sullivan recommends Kixor-based herbicides, such as Optill, to manage early-season weeds because they offer residual activity. Many of his clients are looking for season-long control of perennial and annual weeds, so an herbicide with residual activity is key.

“With the weed pressure we have, and without a residual program, weeds have the ability to either grow ahead in the spring or grow back,” he says. “If we use a product like Optill, we see the residual activity of it that just holds back the weeds longer — it takes some of the complicated application decisions to a more simplified level and gives fast activity and control when we’re just not getting it out of glyphosate.”

It’s that residual control that BASF says will be a benefit to growers in unpredictable weather situations.

“With Optill you get excellent burndown, plus early season residual activity on both broadleaf and grassy weeds,” says Miller. “Residual activity gives growers peace of mind that their soybean field will get off to the best start possible, allowing soybeans to reach full yield potential.”

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