It’s spraying time!

Last modified on 2011-06-30 04:11:15 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Well it’s time for the sprayer to start rolling! We’re starting to spray corn on the farm. It’s the second pass over the corn this year, I’ll post on the first application, which is pre-emergence, later. This is our postemergence pass, we make it right before the corn canopies over the row to try and maximize the effectiveness of the spray. The later we make the application, we catch more weeds that are emerging, and the residual effect lasts longer into the crop season. Once the corn canopies over though, it becomes very difficult to spray, as the spray can’t make it down in between the rows to the weeds. This makes a very short window to spray corn, as there’s about one week where the corn is ready to be sprayed to when it canopies over. Which is why we’re kind of in a pickle this year. The top photo is our sprayer, which last Thursday on the first pass blew the head gasket in the motor. Luckily, a neighbor had the Ro-Gator for us to rent, so we can still get our corn sprayed while ours is in the shop. This year, we’re trying a different chemical on our corn. We’re trying out Halex GT on a portion of our corn. Halex though, is quite a bit more costly than glyphosate. In the past, we’ve only sprayed glyphosate, or as known to most by brand name, Round Up. The past two years though, during harvest, we’ve been noticing that we’ve had a large amount of weeds that have either grown after the glyphosate was sprayed, or have become glyphosate resistant. The problem with glyphosate is it kills by contact with the weed, so if the weed isn’t out of the ground yet, it won’t be killed. There is also a problem with the weeds becoming resistant. There is only one active ingriedient in Round-Up, and over time, the weeds can build up an immunity to it. The Halex we’re trying this year though has three active chemicals in it. It contains glyphosate, but it also has Callisto and atrazine in it. Callisto and atrazine aren’t just contact herbicides, but have residual effect. So even if the weeds haven’t emerged, they will continue to kill weeds for some time afterwards. I know this is a topic of debate among people, the chemicals we use in our crops. These chemicals only have a certain window of effectiveness, after a little while, microbial activity breaks down the chemicals, and neutralizes them, and removes them from the soil. This is what allows us to plant soybeans in the ground the following year, even though these chemicals kill them. These chemicals also have majorly contributed to soil conservation. Before the introduction of modern chemicals, tillage was the main source of weed control, by means of cultivating. Spraying means less disturbing of the soil, leading to less erosion. This is a farmer’s explanation, mind you, the chemist and agronomic explanation is a little more specific, and there may be a few specifics I’m missing, but hopefully you get the jist of it. That’s all I’ve got for tonight! Thanks, David

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