The spring wheat growing season is nearly here, and U.S. wheat growers are in a unique position. With demand for U.S. wheat high, growers will need to push yields this season on every acre. A key component to maximizing production is how growers build on their weed management programs this spring.
To weed scientist and FMC Technical Service Manager Ryan Hunt, the road to better weed management starts in the sprayer tank. Hunt has outlined suggestions to aid in preparing herbicide applications for spring wheat, from solution recommendations to equipment tips.
“Formulating the perfect herbicide mixture with sulfonylurea (SU) granules is top of mind for growers and retailers. They want to be able to maximize their sprays, while incorporating an easier herbicide clean-out process,” Hunt says. “The cleaning ease and spray maximization is a key benefit of FMC’s TotalSol® soluble granules. It’s the total solution to many tank-mixing issues growers experience.”
SU herbicides’ mode of action exhibits very high activity at low concentrations. Before the development of TotalSol SU herbicides’ sprayers had to be cleaned with multiple rinses of water and ammonia. Some herbicide labels recommended having dedicated sprayers to use on different crops to reduce the intensive equipment cleaning process. TotalSol SUs are mixed evenly in the solution, ensuring residue does not fall out of suspension like standard SUs. This makes for a simpler tank cleaning process, requiring only two rinses with 10% sprayer volume of water.
To get the most out of a springtime herbicide application in wheat, there are three steps to follow to maximize results in the field and reduce tank clean-out time.
Dissolve the SU product first and/or separately
TotalSol SU herbicides dissolve completely in water to create a clear solution. Standard sprayer solutions exhibit a low pH level. Glyphosate and tribenuron can settle at the bottom, creating an uneven mixture. Without constant agitation, the mixture could contaminate the sprayer and lead to yield drag in certain crops.
It is important to follow the recommendations and directions on herbicide labels. Without proper use, growers run the risk of weeds developing resistance and reducing crop yields. To pre-dissolve, use one gallon of water per 5 oz. of SU products. After the SU dissolves, add Basic Blend at 1% or 2% volume concentration (v/v). Ascension® surfactant, AxonÔ adjuvant, Linkage® adjuvant, New-toneÔ surfactant and Quad 7 adjuvant are the suggested blends to use with TotalSol SU herbicides. The agitation process should take 5-10 minutes with the use of warm water. Cold water slows the process and improperly dissolves a TotalSol herbicide.
Change nozzle and main filter screens
Today’s large sprayers come equipped with 80-100 polypropylene mesh from the dealership. A 50 polypropylene mesh shows positive sprayer results, along with replacing the nozzle frequently. Nozzles and main filter screens are sprayer components that should not be overlooked. If they are not cleaned properly and changed frequently, nozzles can clog and cause distortion of spray patterns. A nozzle should be replaced if it is spraying more than 10% of the original rated flow. On the other hand, main filter screens should be cleaned daily and replaced monthly due to particle, dust and herbicide buildup over time.
Keep tank pH as high as possible
Growers should avoid using adjuvants that are prone to significantly lower spray tank pH. Additionally, glyphosate conditioners lower the pH and inhibit herbicide products from mixing completely with the solution. Very high rates of phenoxy products, including 2,4-D and dicamba, are also prone to potassium salt flocculation and can cause a tank mix to fall out of solution.
“FMC’s broad selection of herbicides crafted with TotalSol® soluble granules give growers the flexibility of choice,” Hunt explains. “Whether it’s Affinity® BroadSpec herbicide, Affinity® TankMix herbicide, Express® herbicide, Harmony® Extra SG herbicide or Harmony® SG herbicide, FMC is dedicated to making sprayer label language easy to understand and follow.”
Always read and follow all label directions, precautions and restrictions for use. Some products may not be registered for sale or use in all states. FMC, the FMC logo, Affinity, Express, Harmony and TotalSol are trademarks of FMC Corporation or an affiliate. Axon, and Linkage are registered trademarks of CHS Inc. New-Tone is a registered trademarks of Land O’Lakes. Ascension is a registered trademark of Wilbur-Ellis Company LLC. ©2022 FMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 22-FMC-3286 04/22