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Glyphosate drift problems blowing into Arkansas rice

I am back in the middle of glyphosate drift situations in rice fields. I had hoped we had dodged the bullet this season. I also had hoped that the hard work put in by the glyphosate task force and Arkansas Plant Board would pay off.

It is too early to tell how extensive the problem will be, but I have looked at several cases involving several hundred acres each. In some, the pilot could not believe the herbicide behaved in the manner that it did. In others, the ground applicator believed the setup he was running would not result in drift under any conditions.

I do not believe any of the fields I have looked at so far were damaged due to blatant disregard for a neighbor. In some cases the farmers who owned the fields where the drift originated actually seemed more concerned than the farmer who owned the affected rice.

We obviously have a long way to go from an educational standpoint on glyphosate drift. Trying to get education program recommended by the glyphosate task force going has been somewhat frustrating, but it has to happen quickly.

I have said often that I believe industry could do a lot to provide more user-friendly formulations.

In a couple of the situations I have looked at already, the drift produced symptoms for 2 miles. The applicator has a good reputation and during the time the applications were made, it was not particularly windy. The applications were made over wet soil and the more I see, the more I am convinced that situation will bite.

In my opinion, industry should be much more involved with farmers, applicators, regulatory folks and educators in what is going on in real world situations. I am convinced that if we cannot fix the problem on our own, government will attempt to fix it for us. That usually never works.

I will remind everyone again of several things. First, there is a 10-mph wind restriction on most glyphosate applications this year.

Second, you cannot blow it toward rice — it will go farther than you think. It does not have to be very windy for it to go a mile or more from an aerial application — especially over a wet soil.

Third, even if you are running air induction tips and low drift in a ground rig, you cannot apply it adjacent to a susceptible crop with the wind blowing across the susceptible crop.

A lot of the later-planted rice is going to flood now. Make sure it is clean and you will head off a lot of problems and expense later.

Command has been outstanding this year. It again shows that “as Command activity goes, so goes the weed control season.”

However, as good as Command has been, a lot of fields need a good cleanup before flood. Both Ricestar HT and propanil formulations plus Facet have been popular cleanup combinations. In many cases a nutsedge or broadleaf herbicide is also added.

A lot of Ricestar HT plus Facet and Super Wham plus Facet has been used. While I always like to get the grower off as cheaply as I can, I do not cut many corners on the preflood cleanup treatment. If I feel a few extra ounces of Ricestar or another quart or so of Super Wham or Duet or an extra quarter pound of Facet or Quinstar will provide extra insurance to avoid a preflood salvage treatment, I encourage the grower to use it.

As broadleaf weed pressure continues to increase, more growers and consultants are figuring out how to use Regiment. This herbicide continues to find favor. This has been a “smartweed year” and a lot of fields have had barnyardgrass, smartweed and other broadleaf weeds present. Regiment and Regiment combinations have been good fits in a lot of these.

Another thing we have had in many of our postemergence weed control situations this year has been excellent soil moisture at the time of application. This sure makes weed control a lot easier!

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