For operators across the county, weed resistance is starting to emerge as a major problem and yield robber for our farmers. As the complexity of spraying intensifies, farmers are increasingly relying on their retailers for expertise to attack weeds responsibly and effectively to eliminate the detrimental impact they can have on a field. Is your team looking to increase their strategic attack on weeds? In addition to applying the right product at the right time, these top three tips will help your operator team reduce weed resistance:
1. Start with Clean, Uncontaminated Equipment
Your responsibility as a trusted partner on the farm extends to your equipment. To avoid contamination, be sure to clean all equipment and implements when changing from one herbicide to another. It is especially important to always triple rinse tanks and thoroughly clean booms. Contaminated equipment can result in small amounts of active ingredient being applied to weeds, which allows the weeds to generate resistance to that active ingredient. We find that there are two places that are overlooked when cleaning equipment: the end of the wet boom and the filters themselves. Installing flush caps provides the ability to ensure any potential contaminants are blown out of the wet boom during the rinsing process. We also recommend that you remove filters and soak them in water and tank cleaner to ensure they are properly cleaned before changing products. Lastly, open all return lines and eductor/inductor lines to make sure they are well rinsed.
2. Calibrate or Update Equipment
When you spend a large amount of time making sure equipment is clean, the product is just right, and the timing is spot on, make sure that your preparation pays off by calibrating your equipment correctly. Any mistakes in calibration can spread more or less product than needed, resulting in risk to the crop, environment, or resulting in a respray (more time and cost) or resistant weeds. When calibrating your fleet, verify the flow meter is counting gallons correctly. This is a common miscalibration that is seen on equipment. Nozzles are another area to ensure that equipment is running at full and correct capacity. Be sure to select the right nozzle and tip for the application type as well as check the nozzle’s orifice to ensure it is not worn or damaged to prevent uneven volumes from one tip to another or fluctuations in spray pattern. This test can be done using a spot-on spray calibrator. Lastly, simple upgrades to existing equipment can increase the consistency of application, from spray tips to hoses. For example, upgrading to a pulse width modulation (PWM) controlled system like Aim Command Flex helps to maintain droplet consistency and minimize fine droplets which are more prone to drift.
3. Implement Industry-Leading Technology
Technology within the application industry has continued to elevate the ability for operators to consistently and accurately apply product throughout all crop growing stages. Not having the ability to continuously treat weeds through all growing stages has contributed to weed resistance. Increasing efficiency by optimizing field position is a critical factor to overcome this challenge. By utilizing auto boom control technology, operators maintain a more constant and effective position to the crop to ensure consistent pattern and application to ever-changing crop and field conditions. Technology such as the Raven VSN® utilizes non-contact stereo camera and non-contact infrared technology to help operators navigate rows with less crop damage, and increased opportunity to apply to crops less than four inches in height all the way to full canopy. In addition to navigation technology, the AIM Command FLEX ultimate spray control technology results in a more efficient use of crop protection products. Using pulse width modulation (PWM), the system enhances sprayer productivity by controlling product flow and pressure more precisely than conventional rate controllers. With the implementation of industry-leading technology, weed resistance can be combatted more accurately.
Weed resistance is an ongoing challenge, and the tips highlighted will guide operators in helping to reduce weed resistance for their customers. At Heartland AG Systems, we are committed to working with your team to ensure they can be the best possible partner for your growers. The application business is our sole focus, and we will continue to create innovative solutions to enhance precision agriculture.
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