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The 7 habits of a highly effective Weed Warrior!
Written on the 30 August 2016 by Amanda WalkerAmanda Walker www.farmco.com.au
With up to 30,000 species of weeds, 3,000 species of nematodes (microscopic worms) and 10,000 species of plant-eating insects, as well as viruses, fungi, mites and mice, it's no wonder that Australian farmers rely so much on chemicals to protect their agricultural enterprises from pests, weeds and diseases.Choosing the right chemicals is just one factor in achieving effective disease, pest and weed control. Best practice spray timing, application and equipment set up can make a significant difference to how effective and how cost efficient your spraying activities turn out to be. you need to plan you attack with precision and ensure that you are consistently hitting all the right targets. In short, you need to become a highly effective 'weed warrior!
In planning your spray program, consider the following steps to optimise your product performance and minimise spray drift just like an effective weed warrior:1. Understand the 'what' and 'why' of your attack.
Before leaping into attack with a fist full of chemicals, first correctly identify the pest, weed or disease you want to control, the best method to use and the equipment you may need. If you need advice, check with your local Department of Agriculture, agronomist or advisor. Additionally, there are some excellent commercial databases available such as Infopest and HerbiGuide, which will assist you with matching up pests, weeds and diseases with their appropriate perpetrator.
2. Identify the most suitable 'warrior' to carry out your attack.
After selecting a suitable product, read and follow the label directions. Consider what your chosen product needs to hit to be most effective. Does the product need to hit the weed directly, or just reach the soil surface to protect the crop? Consider how long the product needs to be retained in that area, how evenly it needs to cover it and how closely the droplets should be spaced. Be prepared to act quickly as with spraying - timing is everything.
4. Spray quality to optimise product performance
Nozzles and equipment can have a major impact on spray quality, as well as operating speed and pump pressure. Each spraying application experiences variance in spray penetration, coverage and run off, so it is essential that your system is set up and calibrated accordingly to minimise these variances. Nozzles are generally considered to be the most critical component in the spraying system chain, and often the most neglected. Incorrect, worn or damaged nozzles result in over application of chemicals, crop damage and environmental contamination. GRDC have a fantastic nozzle selection guide available click here to download it.
6. Assess the weather prior to launching your attack
To continually improve performance, keep detailed records of your spray activity, including the conditions and measures taken to minimise potential risks. If possible, photos with your phone are a handy way of providing a visual reminder of various pre and post spraying scenarios. You should also endeavour to undertake regular training to keep up to date on current best practice. Check out Chemcert for details on courses and training available in your local area.
So there you have it! Our 7 habits of a highly effective Weed Warrior - guranteed to bring you spraying success. Chemical application is serious business, and every program requires serious planning before the sprayer even leaves the shed. Adopting best practice to minimise spray drift will maximise both the effectiveness and efficiency of your all spraying activities, and possibly add back some money to the budget too!
Author: Amanda Walker