Today’s tough weeds require a high-caliber applicator who is ready to face them head on. A crucial component of this role is reducing spray drift potential. When thinking about herbicide applications, two points should come to mind: efficacy and stewardship. It’s not enough to have one without the other, and proper practices are needed to promote on-target applications.
A helpful resource for applicators looking to improve their own applications is the On Target Application Academy (OTAA). The program, developed by BASF, is a one-of-a-kind educational opportunity that provides extensive hands-on training for increased awareness of herbicide application best practices. Attendees of an OTAA session walk away with a better understanding of how to ensure on-target applications, advocate to coworkers and employees, maximize yield potential and protect crop investments.
Perhaps there is no better time for such educational programs, as advanced herbicide products are hitting the market. Engenia™ herbicide, the most flexible and advanced dicamba for dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton, is available for use in 2017. It provides an additional, effective site of action, controlling more than 200 broadleaf weeds. However, before growers can incorporate it into their herbicide programs, they must first learn its application requirements.
Luckily, growers need not reinvent the wheel. Application best practices taught through OTAA can be applied to Engenia herbicide.
Mitigating spray drift begins by selecting the right nozzle. Each product has specific operating requirements on its label that can dictate which nozzle to use. For Engenia herbicide, the Turbo TeeJet® Induction (TTI) nozzle from TeeJet is required for any application. Nozzle type has the most significant impact on droplet size, a key influencer of spray potential. The TTI nozzle produces extremely coarse to ultra-coarse droplets, which provides excellent protection against drift while delivering the coverage needed for Engenia herbicide.
Setting up a sprayer correctly also promotes on-target applications, including required boom heights, nozzles and operating pressure.
Environmental conditions can influence drift potential, with wind as the most notable factor. High wind speeds greatly increase the risk that a herbicide will miss its target, and speeds too low can create prime conditions for an inversion. An inversion occurs when calm air allows spray droplets to stay suspended above the target, increasing the potential of moving downwind. The optimum wind speed for an Engenia herbicide application is 3-10 mph.
After the sprayer is set and conditions are right, it’s important to ensure proper flow rate as it helps achieve a uniform application. Many factors (like equipment speed, application rate and nozzle spacing) affect flow rate, and all should be taken into consideration. TeeJet has a sprayer calibration calculator that can be helpful for determining these variables for applying Engenia herbicide. Growers can then use calibration techniques to ensure the observed flow rate of their sprayer matches their calculation.
Applicators should also be aware of their surroundings when making an Engenia herbicide application. Observance of required buffer zones and management of field borders are essential first steps. It’s important to follow the product label as well as any local regulatory requirements. Beyond considering their own fields, applicators should consider those of their neighbors. Regularly checking sensitive crop registries and alerting neighbors to scheduled applications help keep application best practices top-of-mind for everyone involved.
With new technologies come new responsibilities. A commitment to stewardship is essential for using Engenia herbicide. Best practices from BASF’s On Target Application Academy are here to help. Thorough consideration of all application components is the best strategy for achieving an on-target application. For more tips on applying Engenia herbicide, visit engeniaherbicide.com.