No matter what the environment brings, growers have to get into their fields and keep weeds from competing with their crop. Starting clean and staying clean — that’s the goal of any weed management strategy. But the most carefully laid plans are at the mercy of spraying conditions, so growers need to look for products that are effective across a wide application window and in a diverse number of growing conditions.
“Last year it was really wet when it was the ideal time to spray for in-crop weeds and that is not normal at all for us,” says Brett Jans, who farms together with his family in New Norway, Alta. “You can’t manage the overall environmental conditions you are growing in, and you also can’t manage the forecast. But you can look for products that work at different crop stages, are rainfast quickly if you are worried about moisture, or those that are still effective when there is a little bit of wind. We often have to deal with all three of these issues all at once.”
Jans says as small-acreage farmers, it is not difficult for them to time their herbicide application so that most of their crop is sprayed at the optimal time. However, he has worked as an agronomist and he says it can be very difficult for larger farms, or for those whose farms span a large area, to fit all their spraying in a short window. For those growers a herbicide with a wide window of application is key.
“However, for all that it is important to have that wide window of application, or the ability to apply a herbicide when the weather is rough, it all means nothing if the active ingredient doesn’t work well under all of those conditions,” he says. “Managing herbicide efficacy is so important. If you are measuring how well a product works only when it’s applied during ideal conditions, that isn’t relatable for most farmers because the majority aren’t waiting for things to be ideal.”
Jans says his experience working with farmers and as a grower himself has shown him that many growers are becoming more careful with their herbicide planning. More are doing a pre-burn with the correct follow-up active for in-crop herbicide application that is designed to match. But he says getting spraying done in an effective way continues to run up against more barriers as resistant biotypes become more prevalent.
“I use a lot of products with Arylex because I know they will control my weeds whether I am using them pre-burn or in-crop,” he says. “I don’t have to worry about residual effects and the multiple modes of action are powerful against my resistant weeds. Prior to using these products, sub-lethal doses of MCPA on hemp nettle were a problem. With Arylex in the mix, many hard to control weeds have become a non-issue.
Group 4 protection
The Corteva suite of products with the Arylex active ingredient all have one thing in common — Group 4 protection from a new structural class of synthetic auxin herbicides. This mode of action is also a proven resistance management tool against Group 2- and Group 9- resistant weeds. It offers broadleaf weed control with enhanced levels of flexibility to increase the number of spray days in a given season, so growers don’t have to wait for the perfect day to spray.
“Arylex works well under challenging conditions,” says Mark Johns, technical sales agronomist with Corteva. “While early weed removal is always recommended, sometimes conditions are so poor that you don’t want to use anything — it’s too wet or too cool so you have no choice but to wait. But Arylex allows farmers to spray on their schedule — it’ll work if the weather is challenging and it will still work on larger weeds if you wait. If you can’t wait, Arylex performs well even when temperatures are out of that ideal application zone.”
Primarily used on fields in the black soil zones, Arylex can be applied over a variety of different climatic conditions with the expectation that the product will continue to be effective against tough-to-control broadleaf weeds like cleavers, chickweed and hemp-nettle. Its low use rate of 2 grams/ acre makes it easier on the environment and it’s very complementary to other active ingredients. Products containing Arylex are compact and easy to handle and they are easily tank-mixed with wild oat herbicides.
“Arylex has the same mode of action as other Group 4 products that have been around for decades but it is a unique chemical innovation,” says Johns. “How it binds across multiple sites of action in the weed is different, and this technology allows it to be effective on larger weeds and when used under tough environmental conditions.”
Because of the different binding profile, and potency it gets to work fast and isn’t as impacted by adverse weather. And growers don’t give up on product effectiveness in the name of flexibility. It’s not just that Arylex controls weeds. It controls the weeds that give growers the most trouble without sacrificing efficacy when conditions are less than ideal.
It’s also effective on both early-emerging weeds and later-stage weeds, allowing more timing flexibility which is helpful not only for growers struggling with unpredictable weather conditions, but also for those who just need more time to cover all their acres.
Jans says tank-mixing is also important to him so he can target whatever grassy weeds are problematic in a given year. Wild oat control is his key grassy weed concern. He says the tank-mix compatibility of the Arylex family of products make them a good choice for his farm.
This coming year Jans plans to use Rexade on most of his wheat acres along with Simplicity tank-mixed with Prominex on rented land that has perennial weed issues. Barley will be liquid Achieve and Pixxaro which has no recropping restrictions into a pulse crop in 2022. He’ll put Paradigm PRE in front of all of his cereal crops. He’s also mulling whether to use Prospect as a pre-seed on his canola but he also knows there are dangers of becoming too dependant on one herbicide — even one that works.
“When I look for weed control I want something that is lethal on the weeds, is flexible during different climate conditions, has no recropping restrictions, good tank-mix compatibility and value,” says Jans. “I am not trying to complicate things, I am trying to learn and make things work under any conditions. A product that is flexible and a product that works is important in order to maintain yield potential.”