Along the fencerow

Weed control in agriculture crops is a popular discussion among circles of farmers. Weeds rob crops of nutrients and moisture, which is detrimental to the potential yield.

Last year and this year, the herbicide Ally was granted a Section 18 exemption by the Environmental Protection Agency for use on grain sorghum.

At about $2 per acre, it is a low-cost chemical for farmers who need something to control pigweed, velvet leaf and puncturevine. It can also be effective for cocklebur, morning glory and other specific broadleaf weeds.

Farmers only need to use 1/20 ounce per acre of Ally and 8 ounces of 2,4-D per acre to be useful for weed control. The research has shown positive results in test trials at Kansas State University using this combination.

Using Ally only, a farmer can expect about half the control of morning glory and 75 percent control on velvet leaf. With the combination of Ally and 2,4-D, the results are within 99 percent control for the two weeds used in the trials.

Crop injury can be a drawback using Ally and 2,4-D. Yellowing or leaf burn, stunting, excessive tillering, brittleness, lodging or delayed maturity can be some of the side effects. The plant growth regulator action of 2,4-D can help reduce the crop injury to sorghum. But 2,4-D by itself can also injure sorghum. It seems through the research trials that when the two chemicals are used together, crop injury is negligible.

By delaying maturity, the biggest factor in reducing the yield appeared to be related to weather stresses. Otherwise, yield response seemed to be positive. Adding a nonionic surfactant increased the potential for crop injury, but it also improved weed control.

With the results in research trials from K-State and other universities, the use of these chemicals allows another tool in the toolbox for farmers that has some merit. It was given Section 18 exemption for the states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

Bradley Goering can be reached by telephone at 620-327-4941 and by e-mail at bgoering@thecsb.

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