March 6, 2023 | Western Canada
Maximize your crop’s success by implementing a 5R strategy: The right rotation, the right time, the right herbicide, the right rate and the right resource
Weed strategies need to be adjusted every year based on where your farm is located and what environmental impacts have affected weed growth.
Canada’s resistant weeds continue to grow. For example, Kochia is now resistant to Group 2, Group 4, Group 9, and/or Group 14 herbicides. Group 14 is a newly added group of kochia resistance discovered in a Saskatchewan case, and added resistance brings a change to the 3R weed control strategy.
Our certified crop advisor team at P&H provides expert advice on which crop strategies may be best for your farm operation. Strategies should be unique to each farm based on crop types, crop resistance, crop and herbicide history as well as environmental impacts such as dryness and drought.
Here are the 5R weed control strategies to take into consideration for your farm:
Right rotation: Control what you can
Good weed control in any year includes enabling crops to outcompete weeds as best they can. This includes optimized crop rotation, increased seeding rate, using certified seed, proper fertilizer placement and keeping excellent seeding, and herbicide application records.
Unfortunately, not all aspects of cropping strategies can be changed every year. Factors that may not be able to be changed could include equipment bought for the next few years such as drills and spacing, planting time-based on weather conditions, and not being able to buy new seed for every acre of the farm. For this reason, you should plan ahead and control what you can with an effective weed control strategy.
Right Time: Scouting
To decide which herbicides to use for pre-seed burn-off and in-season control, scouting can give you a complete understanding of your scenario.
You need to know which weeds are growing at the time of application, their growth stage, which weeds may have a second flush, your problem weed species, which crop will be seeded after burndown, and so on.
Scouting will equip you with the information needed to adjust your weed control strategy. Perhaps you discovered a weed issue that indicated you need to spray a specific chemical because the blanket approach doesn’t work. Or maybe you need to adjust crop rotation as the intended crop may not thrive. For example, planting a cereal crop over a pulse crop due to in-crop spraying options.
Right herbicide: Product choice
After scouting, it’s time to decide what product you will use. One factor is whether you need a contact-only product, a broad-stroke strategy, or one with a residual component. For a residual product, the conditions must be in place for the product to work as intended. For example, most residual products require a moisture event to become soil active.
Herbicide layering can also be implemented with a product choice strategy. Different chemicals layered throughout the year to control target weeds can be an effective option. This year’s economic factors will affect decisions on the type of herbicide, and the application strategy to aim for those higher yields while keeping costs down.
You should discuss options with your local retailer or operations agronomist of choice. Their knowledge and expertise is critical for weed control strategy planning because herbicide options are always changing.
Right rate: Rates and mixing
Always follow the herbicide manufacturer’s label for proper rates to use for specific weeds, not all rates are created equal. For example, Product A will control Kochia at a certain rate only, but if Product A is used at a higher rate will control Kochia and much more. Tank mixing is another critical aspect of a good weed control strategy. Tank mixing gives you control over what rate you will apply to provide enough product to control the weed, you should also take into consideration weed resistance on your farm when determining rate and tank mixing.
Maintaining effective glyphosate rates while adding in a tank mix partner, on top of rotating crops and herbicide layering on every acre of land goes a long way in combating resistance issues.
There are several options for tank mixes with glyphosate that allow you to control a broad spectrum of weeds while adding the herbicide layering approach to target harder-to-control weeds or specific weed issues in particular fields.
Right resource: Tools and Expertise
There are many tools in the toolbox that can be used, and choosing the right ones can be overwhelming. A thorough look at your individual farm circumstances is needed to decide what weed control strategies will be most beneficial in 2023.
To increase the efficiency and economical outcome of strategy decisions, you should use multiple tactics within your 5R weed control strategy.
Leaning on the expertise of a trusted retailer and/or agronomist as you plan out your 2023 weed control strategy will help you pick the tactics needed to benefit future growing seasons.
Work with your CSR. They are a good resource to talk through your weed control strategy.