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Weeds, herbicide shortage makes for challenging yearWeeds, herbicide shortage makes for challenging year

Producers may need to apply a late-season herbicide.

Shelley E. Huguley

July 30, 2021

2 Min Read
Weed Specialist, Peter Dotray, right, discusses weed control challenges this season at a field day at the Halfway Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center. Shelley E. Huguley

"It's been quite a summer," said Weed Specialist Peter Dotray following a field day at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center, Halfway. "It's great conditions for weed growth, lots of rainfall, lots of subsequent flushes.

"I think a year like this demonstrated the importance of soil active herbicides."


Weed Specialist Peter Dotray, Texas Tech University and Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension (Photo by Shelley E. Huguley)

Early on in the season, Dotray said it was apparent which fields had a preplant and at-plant herbicide incorporated, and "then were starting to overlay their foliar sprays, whether it be a Dicamba or a Liberty or 2-4D that included overlaying with additional residuals." 

With some areas receiving as much as 10 to 12 inches of rainfall throughout the end of May into June and July, Dotray described weed control as "all over the board, where there are some very clean fields and there are some fields that struggled from the very beginning.

"I think some growers really weren't prepared with all the rainfall and the inputs that were going to be required and they've been attempting to play catch up."

See, Texas High Plains cotton update; PGR considerations

But battling weeds hasn't been the only challenge. A limited supply of certain products has further complicated weed control. "It's just really been a challenge," Dotray said. "A lot of growers first found that Liberty was in short supply, and in a year like this, it has been working very well. Some applications have even been made to larger weeds and they're still getting pretty good activity, likely because of the humid conditions and succulent growth that the weeds have."

But soon that product was in short supply, as were other soil residual chemistries, he added. Searching for specific brands or something similar took time. "That was costly as far as the timeline of some of the applications."

Dotray also discussed effective end-of-season weed control. "For fields that today are relatively clean, the encouragement is that late-emerging weeds are still producing seed and we've done studies that indicate a Palmer amaranth plant emerging in August can produce 20,000 seed. So, even though the fields are clean today, as those residuals play out with additional rainfall and irrigation, there could be more weed flushes. We'd like to see some layby treatments applied where those flushes are going  to be controlled before they even come up."

When Dotray spoke with Farm Press, he was standing in a weed field trial at the Halfway center. He said this summer's conditions have made for great herbicide comparisons. Watch this video to hear more of his interview. 



About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions that have to be made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such a Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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