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Fuel prices enter weed control decisions

I will sure be glad when farmers get in the field and the phone starts ringing. I am not too much of a worrier, because I am usually too busy. However, I sit around when things are slow and worry about our dollar, fuel prices, inflation, recession and all sorts of related things.

I am confident that the doldrums we are in will pass, but I sure wish it would happen soon. The most discouraging part is the politicians appear to be oblivious to the situation, which likely means they haven’t a clue what to do.

It would sure be more encouraging to hear the presidential candidates addressing the issues head-on as opposed to a lot of meaningless rhetoric. This too shall pass. I just hope you guys hurry up and start planting.

When rice starts going in the ground, my recommendation is get some Command on it with the first forecast of a rain. I prefer that it be applied as soon after planting as possible. The sooner it is applied and activated, the less likely you are of having grass emerged before it is activated.

The key is activation. It is not when you apply the Command that matters but when it is activated. If you apply it and it does not rain, you have to flush it to activate it.

With fuel prices where they are, I suspect most farmers will be even more reluctant than normal to flush unless it is necessary to get a stand. For this reason, I suggest watching rainfall patterns and forecasts to make decisions on when to apply the Command.

As long as you get it applied and activated before any grass emerges, Command alone is fine. If it is a delayed pre-emergence treatment and you suspect the grass could be beginning to emerge, adding a pint of crop oil will increase the activity on any emerging grasses.

If you delay the application until you know you have grass emerged, then add Ricestar HT or a propanil product to make sure you do not miss the emerged grasses.

The Ricestar HT plus Command treatment has been outstanding on emerged barnyardgrass, broadleaf signalgrass and sprangletop.

Once you get the Command out and activated, you can either see what happens or make another residual application before any new grass emerges. In fields with light grass pressure, a wait and see approach is fine. In fields with known heavy grass pressure, I like getting some Facet or Quinstar out before any grass emerges.

Ideally, if you get Command activated with one rain (or flush), go right back with a Facet or Quinstar application right in front of the next rain or flush.

Some may ask, “Why not just mix the Command and Facet or Quinstar in the same application?” You can do this and I sometimes recommend it when a farmer tells me he just has one shot to make an application. However, when you mix them, you have all your eggs in one basket and you are dependent on the same event to activate them both. If you miss, you miss big.

I generally like the split much better. Why spend any money if you do not have any grass up since Command may take you through? Field history can help make that decision. If it is a known problem field, you have less chance of barnyardgrass escapes if you never let them come up.

Another way to add residual control is to split the Command application and apply some early postemergence with propanil or Ricestar HT. You can also apply the Command pre-emergence and follow with a Facet or Quinstar plus grass herbicide application. These examples are for conventional rice.

In Clearfield rice, I still like the Command pre-emergence application, but then let the Newpath or Clearpath do the postemergence work. Proper use of the residual herbicides are the key to good grass control and can often also allow some reduction in early pumping cost.


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