Using Herbicide Prices and Efficacy Ratings to Select for Top Value

Using Herbicide Prices and Efficacy Ratings to Select for Top Value

This article is part of a Nebraska Extension initiative on Strengthening Nebraska's Agricultural Economy. Find more articles for agricultural producers here and on Twitter at #StrongNebAg.

In this Market Journal segment Western Nebraska Crops Specialist Bob Klein discusses how growers can use the 2017 Guide for Weed, Disease and Insect Management in Nebraska to select for the best values in their herbicide program.

sunflower herbicide efficacy table
Figure 1. Efficacy of sunflower herbicides against weeds common to sunflower in Nebraska. Similar information and treatment options and costs are available in the Nebraska Extension guide for all major Nebraska crops. (Source: 2017 Guide for Weed, Disease, and Insect Management in Nebraska)

Each year distributors, dealers, and manufacturers are surveyed in August to update the retail pesticide prices used in the Nebraska Extension Guide for Weed, Disease and Insect Management in Nebraska. Approximate prices are provided for herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides. By referencing these costs and reviewing the product efficacy tables, growers can select the best value to treat the weeds they need to control.

In the following example, sunflower is used for simplicity, but the procedure illustrated here can be used when selecting a cost-effective treatment plan for any crop.

Step One

Review the efficacy table to select the herbicide or herbicides needed to control the weeds that you wish to control. It is also wise to review the site of action to help in managing weed resistance. For example, if Kochia is a problem weed, four herbicides have an efficacy level of nine: BroadAxe XC/Spartan Elite, Eptam + Sonalan, Eptam + Treflan (trifluralin), and Spartan Charge + Prowl H20 (pendimethalin).

If Russian thistle is also a problem, the efficacy ratings would suggest selecting between BroadAxe XC/Spartan Elite and Spartan Charge + Prowl H20 (pendimethalin). Of the four products noted for kochia treatment, these two also have top efficacy ratings for treating Russian thistle. You may have already eliminated Eptam + Sonalan and Eptam + Treflan (trifluralin) because these treatments must be incorporated in the soil. Now compare the cost of the two treatments: BroadAxe XC/Spartan Elite is estimated at $22.00 - $31.00/acre and Spartan Charge + Prowl H20 is estimated at $30.75 - $46.50/acre, depending on rates.

Step Two

Put together a complete weed management program for the crop year including a preemergence treatment and postemergence treatments if needed. Again, select herbicides with different sites of action to help manage weed resistance. To develop your plan, view various treatment options and costs in the 2017 Guide. It contains pest management and pesticide information and approximate costs for a number of Nebraska crops.

The various treatments include costs which, when used with the efficacy table, will help in selecting both an economical and effective weed management program.

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