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Make sure conditions are okay before you spray

Make sure conditions are okay before you spray

Assess environmental conditions and the chosen chemistry before heading out to the field

By Kate Ayers
Staff Writer

The use of efficient and timely pesticide applications can help make this year’s spraying season safe and successful.  

Growers should abide by best practices to protect the environment as well as to get the best return on investment, an Alberta Pulse Growers article said on Wednesday.

“When it comes down to any decision, whether it’s spraying or any other agronomic decision, I think it all comes back to your profitability,” Nevin Rosaasen, Alberta Pulse Growers’ policy and program specialist, said to today.

“It is always important to run partial budgets, as well as to scout for weeds that you are targeting and looking at the number of weeds to assess the potential economic impact.”

The effectiveness of the chosen pesticide is influenced by many factors, including:

  • wind
  • water volume
  • nozzle type
  • droplet size
  • ground speed
  • plant growth stage
  • environmental conditions
  • change in temperature (delta T)

Before heading out to the field to spray, producers should carefully read the label to ensure they are using adequate rates and water volumes.

“Cutting herbicide rates is not a path to go down,” Rosaasen said in the article.

“Herbicide resistance is a real problem and when rates, conditions, or coverage are sub-optimal, these conditions result in sub-lethal doses and can lead to herbicide resistance.”

Producers should also select target weed species to get the most bang for their buck.

“Think like a weed,” said Rosaasen.

“When deciding how to hit that weed with chemical, consider the canopy – whether it has a vertical structure or a more rainforest canopy structure. And choose water volumes, droplet sizes and an approach that will ensure that you hit your target.”

Time of day and delta T can also impact a producer’s spraying decision. These conditions could cause inversions, putting nearby fields and down-wind plants at risk of spray drift, the article said. 

Using best practices and following label directions can help ensure that producers can use these products long into the future. In fact, farmers have a couple tools they can use to prevent herbicide resistance in their fields.

“The number one way to prevent herbicide resistance is to grow different crops,” Rosaasen said to

Producers should have a rotation with a minimum of three crops. “Including a winter annual, such as winter wheat or fall rye, can be advantageous for getting rid of annual weed cycles and perennial weeds.”

In addition, “rotating the functional group of herbicides and ensuring that you can use a tank mix partner when possible ensures that you have numerous modes of action when targeting hard-to-kill weeds,” he added.

Growers should also consider beneficial insects in their fields before spraying. The Western Grains Research Foundation provides more information on these crop protectors.

Previous coverage on 2018 products of concern for maintaining market access can be found here.

UPDATED June 4, 2018

ImagineGolf/E+ photo