Jan 2, 2019
Early Season Potato Herbicide Considerations

{Sponsored} Weeds are a grower’s enemy, so tackling them head on early in the season can make a world of difference later. Because there are a limited number of post-emergence broadleaf herbicides available for use in potatoes, using herbicides before the crop emerges is the best approach to ensure adequate protection of growers’ fields from aggressive nightshade and other broadleaf weeds.

By using herbicide products with residual activity during pre-emergence, potato growers can ensure that the emerging crop is protected from weed competition. Failing to do so can lead to aggressive broadleaf weed escapes that are hard to control. When developing a potato weed control plan, utilizing a single herbicide to control weeds isn’t ideal, so growers should work with their local representative to determine which herbicides will work best for their operation.

“Unfortunately, there is no single product that will control every weed. Growers typically need to apply a mixture of two to four products to get broad-spectrum weed control. There are a limited number of herbicides registered for use in potatoes, so it is very important to practice crop rotation and other resistance management techniques to protect these chemistries. They should also be aware of the weed species in the area to ensure the correct products and approaches are used,” said Curtis Rainbolt, Technical Service Representative at BASF. Rainbolt recommends rotating potatoes with wheat, corn or other grass crops to help control perennial broadleaf weeds.

What else does Rainbolt recommend?

To best control weeds in young potato plants, products such as Prowl® H2O herbicide and Outlook® herbicide should be applied pre-emergence for residual control of emerging weeds.

If growers miss the pre-emergence window, Outlook herbicide can no longer be applied, but Prowl H2O herbicide can be applied up until the potato plants are 6 inches tall. While Prowl H2O herbicide can be applied to the potato crop at this stage, it is important to note that it will not control already emerged weeds. Ideally, growers should not cultivate after they apply residual herbicides since disturbing the soil can reduce efficacy or render the residual product ineffective.

Incorporation and activation prior to weed emergence is another key to success with residual herbicides. “With center pivot irrigation, growers can use water to incorporate the herbicide application. If growers have very sandy fields, they may want to steer away from a product with high water solubility,” said Rainbolt. “As with any product, growers should be sure to read the label carefully to determine if the chemistry is the right fit for their fields.”

By timing application appropriately and with an adequate amount of water to activate the product, growers can effectively control nightshade and other broadleaf weeds for a stronger start to the growing season. As with any weed management program, always be sure to consult with your local representative for the correct application information.

For more information, visit www.GrowSmartPotatoes.com or contact your local BASF representative.

Always read and follow label directions. Outlook and Prowl are registered trademarks of BASF.

© 2018-2019 BASF Corporation. All rights reserved.


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