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Optimizing weed control with a tank-mix partner


April 15, 2020
By Sponsored by Corteva Agriscience

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Alberta grain farmer Ron Pederson knows how vital it is to get ahead of early season weed pressure with a spring pre-seed herbicide application.

“It is important to be able to get that seedling out of the ground without competition from weeds,” says Pederson, who grows canola, wheat, barley and peas on his 3,000-acre farm near Camrose, Alta.

“I think having a clean field at the start is very important down the road to getting a large yield. It’s as simple as that.”

Pederson recognizes the best tool for eliminating invasive spring and winter annual weeds at the beginning of the season is a pre-seed herbicide application. Many farmers still rely on glyphosate alone in their pre-seed burndown, but more and more are recognizing the value of adding a tank-mix partner to increase the effectiveness of their weed control program.

“Using a tank mix is very important for us to be able to go in there and get that clean start for our crop,” Pederson says, adding that cleavers can be a huge problem on his farm.

“It just gives that extra kick that those big weeds need to have,” he says. “Cleavers are a tough, hard-to-kill weed as it is, and glyphosate can’t do it alone.”

Adding a tank-mix additive to a glyphosate burndown application not only boosts performance and provides more complete control, but also enables farmers to cast a bigger net by increasing the number of targeted weeds. In addition, tank-mixing glyphosate with other herbicides from different herbicide groups that have different modes of action significantly reduces the risk of herbicide resistance, which is growing problem for farmers across Western Canada.

It’s known that the repeated use of a herbicide on the same field not only reduces its effectiveness, but also increases the likelihood of weeds becoming resistant to that herbicide.   The best way to avoid this is to use a tank-mix combination of two or more different active ingredients from different groups that have control of the same target weed, as this will reduce the opportunity for weeds in a field to escape, survive and reproduce. This is what makes multi-mode of action control so important in the fight against weed resistance, says Mark Nisbet, the cereal herbicides product manager with Corteva Agriscience.

Mark Johns, a technical sales agronomist with Corteva Agriscience, notes there are lots of examples of how only using straight glyphosate in a pre-seed herbicide application can amp up the risk of herbicide resistance.

“A good practice with a pre-seed application is to use add-in products like Prospect ahead of canola, because they provide additional mode(s) of action on weeds and will help to prevent resistance,” he says.

Prospect is a new canola pre-seed herbicide from Corteva Agriscience that’s being introduced to western Canadian farmers for the 2020 season.

Prospect contains both Group 4 and Group 14 active ingredients, so when tank mixed with glyphosate it delivers three different modes of action. This helps to not only delay the onset of herbicide resistance but also provide more complete control than glyphosate alone.

Tough-to-control weeds controlled by Prospect include cleavers (both overwintered and Group 2-resistant biotypes), hemp-nettle, narrow-leaved hawk’s beard, dandelion and many more.

Fifty-five canola growers in Western Canada field-tested Prospect last year, and according to Nisbet, 77 per cent of them rated its weed control performance as excellent.

Pederson was among those who gave the herbicide a try, testing the glyphosate and Prospect tank-mix combination in a field littered with nasty looking cleavers.

“These were huge cleavers, and they were really branchy,” he says. “The tank mix did a tremendous job – it just flattened them. Black carcasses were all that what was left.”

Pederson also liked the fact he was able to use less water while spraying Prospect, as the product performs consistently when applied at a spray water volume between five and 10 US gallons per acre. Pederson went with a spray water volume of five US gallons per acre for his glyphosate and Prospect application, and says he was able to achieve complete weed control.

“I was really pleased,” Pederson says. “I thought it really performed well at that lower volume of water.”

The Alberta farmer already has his order in for Prospect this year, and he predicts it’s a herbicide he’ll continue to rely on in the future.

“It is a really good fit for us,” Pederson says.

Click here to learn more about Prospect from Corteva Agriscience.