Calgary (Rural Roots Canada) – Staying on top of weeds in the crop goes beyond herbicides.

Kelly Bennett, Category Leader for Herbicide in Western Canada for Corteva Agriscience, says it starts with proper crop rotation.

He says it is also key that the crop emerges quickly and gets off to a good start otherwise the weeds will take over.

“A really significant part of weed control is actually crop competition, so if you’ve got a crop that you maybe haven’t used seed treatment on, and it’s a cooler spring, and it’s not advancing as quickly,” Bennett said.

He adds that it is particularly true if the seedlings aren’t as robust as they should be due to cooler weather or weren’t treated before going in the ground.

“If the weeds get ahead of that crop then they’re harder to control, and they’re also causing yield loss even at that early stage.”

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Bennett says farmers should be assessing their weed issues even before the seed goes in the ground.

“Using a good preseed herbicide to eliminate that early weed competition. It allows then your weeds to when they regrow in the crop, they’re more even, and easier to control.”

He adds producers should be thinking about next year’s weed control after harvest wraps up.

“Coming out of your previous crop like a canola crop and then heading into your wheat or barley crop where you use Exhilarate, making sure that you’re taking care of your weeds in the Fall by doing some tillage or service tillage.”

He says a fall herbicide application can also help, adding either or will help cut down on weed populations in the spring.

Exhilarate is the latest herbicide introduced by Corteva Agriscience to help western barley and wheat farmers deal with broad-leaf weeds such as cleavers, hemp-nettle, and dandelion.

Exhilarate herbicide brings together the trusted power and performance of Paradigm™ herbicide, combined with MCPA Ester to deliver a complete broadleaf solution for wheat and barley farmers. With the inclusion of Arylex™ active and its flexible application window, farmers can spray on their terms, so they can “Just GO” on small or large weeds, in early or late crop staging, and even in cool or dry conditions.

Spraying is like the Indy 500

It’s always a race against time to get the field sprayed before the weather changes; however, Bennett believes farmers need to remember faster is not better.

He says it’s really that refill downtime that costs you time.

“It’s kind of like a pit crew, you know, with an Indy race car. When they pull in, they got to be in and out there out of that pit in a few seconds so you can kind of set up really efficiently so when you stop to refill, you can do that really quickly. That’s really going to help you out and able to go at a reasonable speed when you’re spraying.”

Bennett says part of speeding up that ‘pit time’ comes in how easy it is to mix the chemicals, which Exhilarate can do.

“There are two components in it, Exhilarate A is just a small bottle, and then there are two jugs of MCPA Ester to go with it.”

The dry component uses rapid dispersion technology.

“We call it ‘Go Dry,’ and it’s a dry product that acts like a liquid. It mixes very quickly, disperses in the spray solution. And again, a very small jug.  So there’s not a lot of handling, and it helps you speed up your mixing operation so you can get back out and start spraying again.”

It is also advantageous that it comes in an 80-acre case.

“That’s kind of a sweet spot with farmers where typically spray refills will be, you know, 80, 160, 240, 320, just because of the typical spray or spray tank sizes.”

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Weeding out the competition

A farmer’s greatest foe in the field can be weeds. They come in all shapes and sizes, making for some stiff competition for a crop like wheat and barley.

Corteva contends their Exhilarate gives the crop the upper hand against most common annual broadleaf weeds and some unique ones that give a lot of producers headaches.

“Cleavers, chickweed, hemp-nettle, wild buckwheat, volunteer canola would be big ones, and then some more unique ones like Narrow-leaved hawksbeard, volunteer Alfalfa, Round Leaved Mallow, Storks Bill would be the big ones.”

Bennett adds it also has the power to control barnyard grass.

He also points out farmers should be on the lookout for some lesser-known weeds on their way up, including American Dragonhead, Cockleburs, and Cow Cockle.

Exhilarate controls about 24 different weeds and suppresses another six, one of which is Kochia.

Application: How much water do I have to haul?

How many trips to a water source are needed to get the job done?

Producers are always curious to know how much water they will need as each trip to fill the water tank costs time and fuel really hurting.

Bennett says for spring-time application, it’s effective at a range of water volumes, five to 10 gallons per acre.

“There’s always the efficiency during spray time is really important, so if they can go at lower water volumes, that helps save a lot of time in hauling water.”

However, he cautions to watch for the development of a crop canopy.

“If your crop is a little more advanced, you’ve got more shading, more coverage; then you want to go with a bit higher water volumes, so you make sure you get good coverage on the wheat and can penetrate the canopy.”