Having helped northeast Arkansas producers adopt a successful “zero-tolerance” policy on resistant weeds, Andy Vangilder is helping to tackle another issue with weed control.

“We’re trying to help farmers avoid the issues caused by ‘dirty’ sprayers,” says Vangilder, Clay County Extension staff chair. “Over the last few years, all the Extension agents and specialists have been called to fields that have been damaged due to that – the crop is severely burned or, in some cases, has been killed. That’s just because the sprayer wasn’t cleaned out well enough before going into a vulnerable crop.”

Read more on the zero-tolerance movement here, here and here.  

Seven or eight years ago, around northeast Arkansas, this wasn’t a front-burner issue, says Vangilder. “Roundup isn’t too hard to get out of a tank – just wash it out with some cleaner. There wasn’t nearly as much injury in the fields.”

That changed when resistant weeds came on strong in the region. “Now, we’re using all kinds of other chemistries, pre-emerge products to help us out -- everything from Prefix, Flexstar, Liberty to all the rest.

“If half your crop is LibertyLink and half is Roundup Ready and you don’t have a dedicated sprayer for each, it’s easy to get into trouble. Do things wrong and the first round, or two, you make in the sprayer is going to burn the crop. That’s a super problem if you’re a commercial applicator with liability.”

Check Current Soybean Futures Prices 

After seeing so many injured crops, Vangilder and colleagues were moved to hold three sprayer clinics in the Arkansas Delta. The first one is at the Rector Community Center on Nov. 5. The second one is set for Marianna on Nov. 6. The third will be in McGehee on Nov. 7.

Scroll down for exact locations and agenda.

“These clinics will include hands-on demonstrations. Cleaning out the sprayers is the main focus but there will be other things explained: proper tip selection, drift control, electronics, how to upgrade older sprayers. Producers will just get a lot of general knowledge on sprayers and how to deal with different products.

“Some folks still don’t know that different cleaners need to be used for different herbicides.”

How’s the zero tolerance effort going?

“That’s still going on – lots of producers are involved, now. You can really tell just driving the back roads. A few pigweeds still get by us but the majority of producers are spraying turn-rows, ditches, chopping, pulling, whatever it takes.

“The fields have really been cleaned up compared to three years ago. Some still need work but, as a whole, folks here are doing a good job on pigweeds.

“One thing that helped this year was early rains that triggered our pre-emerge applications. In 2012, with the drought, we didn’t get much out of the pre-emerge applications.”

How will these clinics fit in with the new soybean technologies coming?

“That’s another reason we’re doing these. We need to be ready when those come on line.

Ag news delivered daily to your inbox: Subscribe to Delta Farm Press Daily.

 “In 2015, dicamba soybeans are supposed to be released. If you don’t do a proper job cleaning dicamba out of the tank and then go spray regular soybeans, it’s almost as severe as spraying cotton with 2,4-D.

“The combination of these new technologies and a lack of a good clean-out program will lead to a disaster. That’s just a fact.

“The companies are telling us they’re going to help with drift. That’s yet to be seen. But these clinics will also address drift control.”

Locations and agenda

Where the clinics – all set to begin at 9 a.m. -- will be held:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 5 -- Rector Community Center, Rector, 740 E. 9th Street (Corner of U.S.  Hwy 49 North and Arkansas Hwy. 119.)
  • Wednesday, Nov. 6 -- Cotton Branch Research Station, Arkansas Hwy. 1 South, Marianna. (Three miles south of Marianna on Hwy. 1).
  • Thursday, Nov. 7 -- Men’s Club and Community Center, 1 Airport Rd. South, McGehee. 

The agenda:

  • 9:05 a.m. -- Application tips for successful weed and insect control with Tom Barber, Extension weed scientist, and Gus Lorenz, Extension integrated pest management coordinator.
  • 9:45 a.m. -- Bob Wolf on nozzle types for improving control of hard-to-kill and resistant weeds. Using electronics to apply crop protection products, illustrating the influence of speed changes, rate changes, and nozzle types and sizes on PSI, patterns, drift and coverage.
  • 11 a.m. -- 11:15 a.m. break
  • 11:15 a.m. – Bob Wolf on calibrating for droplet size to meet the new spray quality requirements on the label, plus the effect of chemicals and adjuvants in the tank mix on droplet size, drift, coverage, mixing and clean out.
  • Noon -- Lunch
  • 1 p.m. -- 2:30 p.m. Breakout Sessions
  • Vangilder on tips for different sprayers to reduce contamination.
  • Barber on proper cleaning procedures for mixing tanks, parts.
  • Wolf on spray table demonstration of proper spray tips and demonstration of the influence of electronics on coverage and drift.

Door prizes will be available.  

For more information call Vangilder, (870) 930-6075, for the Rector clinic; Robert Goodson, (870) 995-4505 for the Marianna event; and Wes Kirkpatrick, (870) 222-7260 for the McGehee event.