It was a wet spring last year in North Texas, and Bobby Crittenden couldn’t spray pasture weeds as soon as he’d like. But, because he was late, he gained a new tool.
Since he bought the ranch near Palmer, Texas, south of Dallas, in 2013, Crittenden has been on a cleanup mission. He’s trying to make the 400 acres more productive for his cow-calf operation.
“I bought this place when it was overgrazed and grown up in mesquite,” he says. “I’m just cleaning up pastures and trying to get grass back.”
Crittenden dozed mesquites, seeded 25 acres with a native grass mix and sprigged another 30 acres of Jiggs bermudagrass. Elsewhere he’s been trying to coax whatever grass is there back into production. He’s planning more fencing to implement rotational grazing.
And he’s been working on broadleaf weed control.
“Cockleburs came back after we dozed the mesquites,” he says. “It’s like we sowed them.”
Annual broomweed and broom sneezeweed also plagued pastures.
So Crittenden typically targets his weediest pasture to work on each year. “I have to pick my battles,” he says.
Using his own sprayer, he prefers to spray when weeds are 4 to 6 inches tall. Weeds are easier to control then, and he hasn’t yet lost too much grass production from the competition. But last year was different.
Crittenden sprayed in mid-July when the weeds were bigger and temperatures were higher. He worried about the potential for 2,4-D volatility.
Any herbicide can physically drift if it’s caught by the wind at the time of application. Volatility is the characteristic of some herbicides to form vapors after application that can move off target. Some 2,4-D formulations can be volatile.
“Neighbors have soybeans in the bottom, and cotton is nearby,” he says. “I don’t want to worry about 2,4-D.”
Crittenden’s herbicide supplier, Nutrien Ag Solutions in Palmer, recommended DuraCor® herbicide. DuraCor does not contain 2,4-D, and under normal field conditions, DuraCor is nonvolatile. It’s also effective on the weeds Crittenden targeted.
Crittenden applied DuraCor at the recommended rate of 16 ounces per acre. He used a 300-gallon sprayer with cluster nozzle to apply 10 to 13 gallons of total volume per acre. He relied on a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit to keep his swaths straight.
“Cockleburs were knee-high when I sprayed, but they weren’t flowering yet,” he says. “I saw the same quick response — leaf turndown — that I usually expect.”
Overall, Crittenden estimates his weed control, even a bit late, exceeded 90%. With ample rains, pastures stayed clean and he had abundant grass all summer.
And, for him, there was one other benefit from switching to the new herbicide.
“It doesn’t smell like 2,4-D,” Crittenden says. “That’s another thing I like, because I really don’t like the smell of 2,4-D. I’ll spray this from now on.”
® Trademark of Corteva Agriscience and its affiliated companies. Under normal field conditions, DuraCor® is nonvolatile. DuraCor has no grazing or haying restrictions for any class of livestock, including lactating dairy cows, horses (including lactating mares) and meat animals prior to slaughter. Label precautions apply to forage treated with DuraCor and to manure and urine from animals that have consumed treated forage. DuraCor is not registered for sale or use in all states. Contact your state pesticide regulatory agency to determine if a product is registered for sale or use in your state. Consult the label for full details. Always read and follow label directions.