Malcolm Haigwood says growers in his area of northeast Arkansas have “tried everything we can think of” to control hard-to-kill or herbicide-resistant weeds like Palmer amaranth and ragweed over the last two or three years.
Haigwood, who operates a family farm and chemical application and land forming businesses in Newport, Ark., says he has gone back to applying the old, “yellow,” dinitroanaline herbicides, the ALS products, PPO herbicides – “even though those don’t work very well anymore” – in his quest to get problem weeds under control.
“We’re just about at the end of the spectrum on weed control,” he says. “We only have one product – glufosinate – and y’all know how finicky it can be at times. Timing is critical on it, and this year we had three weeks where we could not get in the field. It rained every day. I call that extreme in our area.”
Haigwood, who spoke during a panel discussion on the new Enlist system at a Dow AgroScience’ Driving Farm Solutions event, said the weather made it difficult to make timely pre- or postemergence herbicide applications in 2015.
“You’re behind the eight ball, so to speak, and you’re trying to play catch-up,” he said. “And when you don’t really have a product that will control it, it makes it extremely tough. You can drive up in our area and you can see the extremes this year. You can look across the fields and see the weed pressure we’ve had.”
Palmer amaranth wasn’t the only problem. “We also had ragweed and all different types of species of morningglory,” he noted. “Glyphosate alone always had a hard time controlling some of these species. I was concerned about that because the weeds were really larger than what I had expected.
“A few days after we applied Enlist Duo, we went back out there just a few days later you could see the wilting of the ragweed, the marestail, Palmer amaranth, the morningglory and all the species we had. They really started to dwindle. After about seven days, they were toast, nothing was left.”
Haigwood said he was impressed with what he saw, especially “since we didn’t get the preplant herbicides put out. I wanted to, but the weather just wouldn’t allow it.”
Having grown up on the family farm, Haigwood said his career runs from the mechanical removal of weeds (which I didn’t always approve of) to a number of different classes of herbicides.
“Resistance is nothing new,” he said. “I know we had it in the 1970s because we developed resistance to the ALS inhibitors and the DNA products. Those were good for awhile, and then resistance occurred again.”
By resistance, Haigwood says he doesn’t mean the products completely stopped working, “but, often, you had to add something to it to make it work. We’ve also learned timing is critical and that Mother Nature can have something to do with it. We’ve seen the good and the bad over the years.”
For more information on Enlist, go to www.dowagro.com.