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Delta Farm Press Palmer pigweed
<p> The most important factor in a pigweed control program is the application timing of the postemergence herbicides.</p>

Pigweeds, drift hit Arkansas fields

With a lot of conventional crops this year, many fields behind schedule, and spring winds blowing, farmers should use good judgment when applying herbicides and communicate with their neighbors.

There have been two consistent themes to my calls lately — herbicide drift and pigweeds. A lot of the drift situations could be prevented with better communication. I am concerned the problem is going to get worse this year before it gets better. Most growers are way behind, everyone is antsy and some are pushing the panic button.

Few to no soybeans have been planted in some areas and most of the spraying in soybeans will be done after rice has emerged. I am watching a lot of ground sprayers running in winds that are way too high. Of course, I do not know what they are spraying, but in some cases it is too windy to be spraying water! Too often I get called back to those areas a couple of weeks later.

There are a lot of conventional crops planted this year; we are behind and also into our most windy time of the year. Please use good judgment and communicate with your neighbors.

I have had a lot of calls about pigweed in rice. Often these are carpet-like infestations. Rice planting is way behind and the pigweeds did not germinate until the weather warmed. The flood will eventually take them out of the paddies. However, with them germinating at high densities with the rice, they will get very competitive before flooding and when they get big, death by flooding can take a long time.

Propanil, Aim and propanil plus Aim combinations are the best early treatments. I usually recommend propanil plus Aim — sometimes just a quart of EC propanil in the Aim instead of crop oil. I often get the comment, “I do not want to burn my rice.” In that case, use propanil alone. However, it is often a matter of you burning the rice or the pigweeds burning your backside!

We have a lot of fields this year where the grass has been nicely controlled by residual herbicides leaving nutsedge and broadleaf weeds to be controlled. When I make recommendations for those using Permit, Halomax, Storm, Aim, Facet, etc., that call for crop oil, I often substitute the quart of EC propanil mentioned above. It does not fit every situation, but where it does it provides a lot more bang for the buck than crop oil at about the same cost.

I have received several calls about soybeans and corn (those surprised me a little) saying, “The pigweeds have blown through my pre-emergence program like I didn’t spray it.” That is a fact of life with residual herbicides and pigweeds. In our Roundup Ready and conventional weed control systems we are using the same programs of residual and postemergence herbicides we were using before Roundup Ready. Those programs were very inconsistent then and they will be now.


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This year could wind up being a very tough pigweed year. With the late planting into very warm soils, the pigweeds are going to come out of the ground mad and growing rapidly. For any pigweeds that escape the residual herbicides, early postemergence timing will determine the success or failure of your program.

A lot of soybeans will be planted at the same time, which means a lot of soybeans will have to be sprayed at the same time. If you have to spray a little earlier than you intended to get the application done, by all means do it!

Another key to postemergence pigweed control — whether in a Roundup, conventional or LibertyLink program — is to repeat the postemergence treatment seven to 10 days after the first. A common mistake is to wait too long thinking the weeds need to recover some in order to take up herbicide on the second application. If you let them recover, you did not kill them the first time; you likely will not kill them the second time either. With the burner-type herbicides, kick them while they are down and come right back with the second application.


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