Helena Preps for Busy Weed Control Season
We checked in with Helena experts from the Midwest to the Southeast to see what’s top of mind ahead of 2022 planting. All agreed farmers will need to go back to the basics to deal with a new set of weed control challenges, starting with these questions.
What crops are you planting?
Overall management costs are leading some to rethink planting decisions. This is true in areas like the Southeast, where corn acres are expected to decline, and cotton acres are expected to increase. Many also project growth in soybean acres nationwide. The final answer to this question will lead to others as farmers build herbicide programs. For example, are there herbicide technology traits available for the crop, and are there certain plantback restrictions to keep in mind? With so much uncertainty in the market, identifying all of the scenarios and planning ahead is essential this season.
What kind of weed pressure is common in your area?
Weed pressure will drive decision making even more as farmers look for alternatives to standard chemistries. Small-seeded broadleaves will continue to pose the biggest challenges for farmers across the Midwest. Waterhemp and kochia top the list, depending on geography, followed by giant ragweed, marestail and lambsquarter. However, the availability of certain herbicides could make grass control a bigger problem this year. To the South, three main weed species will drive the majority of input decisions: Palmer amaranth, marestail and Italian ryegrass. The story is similar in the Southeast, where Palmer amaranth and grasses also compete heavily with crops. In addition to finding the right herbicides, Helena recommends regular scouting and timing applications with weed biology to improve results.
What factors can you control?
We’ll never be able to control the market or the environment, but there are factors impacting performance that can be influenced. In addition to when and what you spray, remember these parameters: adjuvant(s), carrier volume (GPA), PSI, nozzle type (droplet size and spray pattern) and sprayer speed. They work hand in hand to impact the success of an application. For example, when considering coverage, the adjuvant choice and carrier volume immediately come to mind. While both are extremely important, without the right pressure and nozzle type, we can still sacrifice coverage. Because so many farmers are trying something new this season, a review of these spray parameters before application will go a long way in ensuring maximum efficacy of inputs.
In our next FieldLink blog article on weed control, we’ll take a deep dive into the chemistries and strategies that can help you overcome supply challenges. For more information and help building your herbicide program this season, contact your local Helena representative.