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Win the War Against Weeds in Warm-Season Pastures

By Adam Russell
Weeds in warm-season pastures can be an annual battle, and producers should prepare their spray equipment to win the war, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.
Now is a good time to calibrate equipment and reflect on the previous year’s weed and pest insect issues to apply successful treatments to warm-season pastures, said Dr. Vanessa Corriher-Olson, AgriLife Extension forage specialist, Overton. 
Sprayer calibration is an important part of pasture management. Producers should check their equipment and test it to make sure herbicide and insecticide applications are effective. 
“Take the time to calibrate sprayer equipment to make sure it is working properly,” she said. “As it sits over winter the rig may be displaced or dirt dobbers or other bugs might have gummed the nozzles up. The main thing to make sure it’s putting out the correct amount of herbicide or insecticide intended.”
Too much or too little product application on a hayfield can cost producers, Corriher-Olson said. Spraying too much increases the cost of an application and could be against the label recommendation, which is the law. Too little application could be ineffective and require additional treatments.
“Proper calibration could mean huge savings because those applications represent money,” she
said. “It’s worth the time to check.”
When calibrating, Corriher-Olson said equipment should be run as if spraying a field under normal conditions.
“Don’t go faster or slower than you would go in the field,” she said. “Fields may have hog damage or ant mounds or other terrain features that can affect speed and changes of speed will affect the volumes being applied to the field.”
Corriher-Olson said how many gallons of water the sprayer puts out per acre and following individual products’ mixing rates are a big part of ensuring fields receive the right amount of product. She also suggests producers who use multiple products to test mix them in mason jars to check for coagulation and avoid damage to equipment.
“Follow the directions,” she said. “There is a lot of information on the product label because most have different instructions based on chemistry.”
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