Weed Challenges For Vegetable Growers

Julian Smith

Weeds are a constant challenge for vegetable growers. Those in the crop protection field know what growers are going through to keep these pests from taking over crops. AVG caught up with Ron Rowcotsky, the western region marketing manager at Amvac Chemical as well as Julian Smith, director of Discovery and Innovation at Brandt Consolidated, to get some insight on problematic weeds, resistance issues, ground water contamination, and more.

Q1 Have any weeds emerged in recent years that have proved especially problematic for vegetable growers?

Smith: Water Hemp and Palmer Amaranth have been problematic, as well as acetolactate synthase (ALS) resistant Kochia in the Western U.S.

Rowcotsky: Purslane and Chickweed are two weeds that are espe-cially problematic. Few weed control alternatives are available for effec-
tive control of these weeds; among them are hand-weeding and Dacthal herbicide. Two other tough-to-control weeds are Groundcherry and Shepardspurse. Dacthal aids in the control of these weeds.

Q2 What are the biggest weed challenges vegetable growers will face in 2013?

Smith: Weed resistance to traditional herbicides will continue to be a problem, as well as the loss of some of the older chemistries no longer being used.

Rowcotsky: There can be many weed challenges depending on conditions but among the most difficult to control are Purslane and Chickweed.

Q3 Does glyphosate resistance continue to be a problem? With what weeds? What can growers do?

Smith: Yes, we do see this problem continuing, particularly with Water Hemp and Palmer Amaranth. Manufacturers are coming out with new chemistries to combat resistant weeds.

Rowcotsky: Whenever one herbicide or mode of action is selected year after year, issues with resistance have been known to become a problem. It is best to employ IPM practices including alternating herbicides with different modes of action and/or employing the use of tank mixes with products that have different modes of action.

Q4 Has your company come out with any new herbicides and/or label additions? Growers of what crops would be interested?

Smith: We recently launched a new product line called Brandt Smart System, which are foliar nutrients designed for use with herbicides, including glyphosate and additional chemistries that will combat resistant weeds. Some of the weed resistance products on the market cause temporary plant stress, which is apparent in the yellow flashing that appears on leaves. Brandt Smart System nutrition helps plants fight through post-emergent herbicide stress and has resulted in better yields and quality, which is noticeable in size, color, flavor, firmness, and vigor. Brandt Smart System has been extremely successful on corn, cotton, soybeans, and peanuts as well as tomatoes, potatoes, onions, garlic, and sweet corn.

Rowcotsky: Since most herbicides do not adequately control Purslane or Chickweed and hand-weeding is so expensive, to say nothing of the labor issues, AMVAC’s Dacthal herbicide has been an option. Dacthal offers consistently effective control of Purslane and Chickweed and continues to be an excellent tool for vegetable growers.

Q5 Ground water contamination has become a huge issue, especially in the West. Are you taking those environmental concerns into account? How so?

Smith: Yes, environmental concerns and sustainability drive all new product development and technology at Brandt. We have a range of solutions designed to reduce ground water contamination, to keep irrigation system lines clean and free from disease and contamination, and to control spray drift from herbicides and other crop inputs.

To reduce water contamination, we have been using a product called Erosion Guard, which helps clarify water and control sediment runoff and nutrient and chemical leaching into ground water. We are also using polymer-based products, such as Stockosorb and Stockopam.

Other new developments that help reduce ground water contamination
are nutrient utilization enhancers, such as N-Boost, which improve nutrient
uptake and use so that plants need less fertilizer. This has helped reduce nitrogen run off.

Another segment of our business is Brandt Hydrology, which focuses on water quality testing, treatment, and maintenance in agricultural irrigation systems. These products help keep lines clean and free from biological and mineral scale build up (such as bacteria, mold, slime, fungus, and mineral deposits) that can clog and contaminate irrigation systems.

Brandt also offers more than 50 OMRI listed products, including nutrition, protection, and adjuvant chemistries and recently completed construction of a new 90,000-square-foot organic manufacturing facility in Fresno, CA.

Rowcotsky: All Amvac products are tested and must meet the ever increasing standards set by EPA and individual states. The data requirements address ground and surface water and drinking water assessments and are part of the dietary contribution analysis. When considering new active ingredients or product acquisitions, we assess all
potential regulatory impacts.

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