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Precision Ag For Weed Control
Years from now, greybeards will muse about
the golden age of weed control, when the Roundup Ready system blitzed all weeds
just two passes of glyphosate.
Unfortunately, the system worked too well for
its own good. Selection pressure soon resulted in glyphosate-resistant weeds.
That’s forced farmers to revise their weed management strategies.
If you’re a “Roundup baby” used to just
managing weeds with glyphosate,
you’ll now need to incorporate cultural and
multi-herbicide tactics to manage weeds.
Since the Roundup Ready system didn’t extend
to small grains, cereal producers have been used to mixing combinations of
chemicals. One tool that will help them and ultimately row crop farmers, too,
is DuPont’s PrecisionPac dispensing system.
Retailers are now working with small grain
farmers to create a customized herbicide blend for each field. The system
allows up to six DuPont small grain herbicides in dry granular form to be
dispensed in a number of herbicide combinations.
“It brings precision ag to weed control,”
says Dave Schuur, cereal portfolio manager from DuPont Crop Protection. “It
fits weed control needs field by field.”
Retailers using the PrecisionPac system first
discuss each field’s needs with the farmer. Topics covered include a field’s
weed spectrum, need for residual or non-residual products, field size, and
required product amount. The retailer then inputs the herbicide line-up and
amount into the patented system.
Dry granules in specified amounts flow from
each plastic container holding the herbicide into a plastic bag. A sticker
stating the chemical mix is attached to the bag. The farmer or spray applicator
then takes the premixed bag to their sprayer for tank mixing.
For proper tank mixing, it’s important to
have water tank levels one-third to one-half-full before adding dry granules
prior to tank agitation, says Schuur.
In essence, the PrecisionPac system creates a
prescription herbicide solution for each field, says Schuur. Because it is preprogrammed
at the retailer level, it nixes mixing errors and any leftover chemical at the
farmer or applicator level.
The system also saves time and hassle during
“With a premeasured bag, there is no more
triple mixing of jugs,” says Schuur. “It also prevents the mess of mixing dry
granules in the field, where wind can sweep them away.”
Improved mixing accuracy may also indirectly
boost weed control because it eliminates the temptation to cut label rates. “If
growers use full rates, they will get better weed control,” says Schuur.
The PrecisionPac system for 2013 is in place
for small grains in 68 locations across 18 states. A pilot program is planned
for corn and soybeans in 2014.