Pulse School: Identifying fields with herbicide carryover risk

Farmers live and work in the real world, so real world events like weather can make a huge difference to a crop. We all know this, but sometimes we forget that the weather in the year prior to the current growing season also needs to be taken into account.

Andrew Reid understands that crops grow in the sun and the wind and the rain, and that the herbicides used on those crops have to be able to perform under a wide variety of conditions. He is the technical marketing specialist with BASF and his area of specialty is herbicides. We caught up with Reid at the BASF labs in Saskatoon where we recorded this episode of Pulse School on tips and considerations for identifying and managing the possibility of herbicide carryover that could injure this year’s crop.

Reid begins by explaining what herbicide carryover is and what causes it. “Herbicide carryover, in very general terms, is when you apply a herbicide the year before, then, for a multitude of different reasons, doesn’t breakdown as fast as you would normally expect it to.” Even if you’re adhering to the proper re-cropping restrictions, a lack of rainfall the year or years prior could still mean you end up with crop injury from herbicide carryover.

Rain plays a big role in how fast herbicides breakdown, and there wasn’t a lot of rain across the southern parts of the Prairies last year. “Herbicide carryover, number one, is affected by rainfall after application,” Reid says. “You need that rainfall after application to get the product into the soil and also to help with microbial activity, because it’s (soil) microbes that break down most of the herbicides that we use in Western Canada.”

If you were one of the lucky ones that received rain last year you still might want to think about your soil conditions and crop history. There are a several variables that could contribute to herbicide carryover. “Rainfall is the most important factor after application, but your soil type, your soil texture, organic matter, pH, these all play a role in risk for herbicide carryover,” says Reid.

He emphasizes that all herbicides should be used according to label directions, and growers should consult with their retailer or product provider. If you think you may have a carryover problem, Reid says to make that call sooner rather than later so that you can best anticipate if you’ll have an issue and possibly swap out your planned crop type on those high-risk fields, if need be.

Watch the entire interview on herbicide carry over with Andrew Reid, BASF technical marketing specialist, below.

Click here to watch more episodes of Pulse School.

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