This is shaping up to be a tough weed control year. We sprayed the 21 DAE (days after emergence) treatments in our early April-planted soybeans recently. The tractor was leaving 4-inch ruts — in the dust! Droughts in April and early May don't happen, so they say. I doubt we'll get much activity out of the herbicide treatments.
We were recently blessed with a nice rain in many parts of the state. Maybe things will turn around. If you were caught like I was where it was dry, the weeds had to be sprayed and there was no rain in sight, look closely after you get moisture. There is a good chance many of the fields will need another application.
I am hearing reprorts that 80 and 90 percent of our soybean area was planted to Roundup Ready varieties. My telephone calls on soybean weed control are few and far between nowadays. I hope this is a reflection on the simplicity of the Roundup Ready system. There just aren't a lot of questions to ask — you just go spray. If you hit the timing of the first glyphosate application, the program is hard to mess up.
Some of my colleagues like to say about any herbicide or system that “it isn't a miracle.” Weed control in a Roundup Ready system is as close as it gets in my business.
In contrast to soybeans, my phone is ringing off the hook on rice weed control. This is obviously going to be an extremely expensive year for rice weed control. All of that weed control money saved with Command the past couple of years has been spent this year.
There is a good lesson in this year. We need every available herbicide option at our disposal. The past two years some folks in the enforcement circles were saying, “We don't need Facet anymore.” Without Facet this year we might have the grassiest rice crop on record. Dealers are saying that if they did not sell another pound, it still would be a record year on Facet.
The Ricestar Section 18 came at a perfect time. While I wrote it and fought hard for it the past two years, I must admit to being pretty neutral on whether we should resubmit it this year. The reason was our rice crop was so clean last year I wasn't sure we could justify it.
Much credit needs to go to the Arkansas State Plant Board. You don't often hear many good things about an enforcement agency. However, in this case they insisted we resubmit the Section 18 and I am glad we did. The feedback from the field has generally been very positive on Ricestar.
This is going to be a super year for the companies and applicators and a very expensive year for the farmers, the ultimate customer. If there is a positive side, it may have breathed new life into some much-needed herbicides that may have been gone if the market had continued to be dominated by Command as it had the past two years.
On the salvage front, Ricestar is going to be best on big sprangletop. On salvage barnyardgrass and broadleaf signalgrass, the 0.5-pound rate of Facet with oil right in front of the flood or in the flood is hard to beat.
Nobody talks about Ordram anymore. The main thing wrong with Ordram is nobody puts it out until midseason on headed grass. Put out right after the permanent flood in fields where you can hold a flood, it is still an outstanding barnyardgrass herbicide.
Ford Baldwin is an Arkansas Extension weed scientist.