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Every grazing season comes with unique challenges. Sometimes those include working through obstacles from the previous year (or years).
That’s the case in many areas where severe to extreme — or even exceptional — drought require ongoing care to aid recovery. Managing your grazing program is the most critical first step toward recovery. Weed control and fertility can help accelerate it.
If you’ve been fortunate to see some moisture replenishment, it’s important to ensure every drop goes toward growing grass.
“In drought areas, the pressure from weeds is greater than in a normal year simply because nature tries to fill a void,” says Scott Flynn, a field scientist with Corteva Agriscience. “Controlling weeds during that recovery process takes the moisture that the weeds would have taken and gives it to the grasses, which helps them recover and helps them recover faster.”
The same holds true anywhere overgrazing might have occurred during 2021. If you see bare ground, Flynn says, the weeds will come back before the grass.
“If you don’t spray,” he explains, “you’re going to have a weed problem, and they’re going to flourish due to weakened grass stands.”
When it’s time to spray, choose a broad-spectrum product, such as DuraCor® herbicide. DuraCor controls more than 140 broadleaf weeds that are up and growing and provides the residual control needed to hold weeds out and give desirable grasses time to reclaim the bare spots.
Taking broadleaf weeds out of the competition equation and providing the fertility recovering pastures need will help strengthen grass stands and increase forage production through the summer. Flynn says cattle producers have three choices, each with distinct outcomes:
“A herbicide with soil residual activity, such as DuraCor, is a far better value, especially in a year like this when we’re dealing with widespread stressed pastures,” Flynn says. “This allows grasses to fill those voids across your pastures and reestablish, providing grazing and competition against future infestations. After all, the best pasture weed control is a healthy grass stand.”
Even with weeds out of the way, giving pastures time to recover is vital to lasting success. That starts with sound grazing management.
“The rapid greenup of spring pastures can give producers a false sense of security, causing them to begin grazing too soon and damaging grass stands early on,” Flynn notes. For long-term pasture health, it’s important to adjust your grazing plans. Consider holding cattle off pastures as long as possible to allow significant growth.
“We like to see grass tillers have at least four to five leaves,” he says. “In rotational programs, aim to move cattle more frequently and increase rest periods, when possible.”
Flynn advises removing weedy competition as early as possible to strengthen grass stands. Target pasture and rangeland threats, such as thistles, horsenettle, ragweed and ironweed, when they are emerged and actively growing to ensure maximum herbicide uptake and root translocation. Wait to treat woody plants until they are fully leafed out and actively growing. When treating leafy spurge, wait until plants reach the true flower stage.
Generally, we recommend two rate ranges for broadleaf weed control with DuraCor herbicide: 12 to 16 fluid ounces per acre or 16 to 20 fluid ounces per acre, depending on the target species and application timing. Move exclusively to rates in the 16- to 20-fluid-ounces-per-acre range by mid- to late spring. This will deliver the highest level of control and longer-lasting residual for the best return on investment.
Treatment timing. Applications can begin during early spring and continue into summer. For best results, apply when weeds are actively growing and conditions are favorable for plant growth.
Adjusting rates. Use a higher rate in the labeled rate range (up to 20 fluid ounces per acre) as the season progresses and weeds mature, when weed foliage is tall and dense, or when maximum residual control is desired. Poorer growing conditions also require the higher rates in the labeled rate range for the best results.
See the accompanying table for rates and recommendations. If you have specific questions, connect with your local Corteva Agriscience Range & Pasture Specialist.
General application guidelines: Treat when weeds are actively growing. When different rates are provided or recommendations include a tank-mix partner, use the lower recommended rate when weeds are smaller. As weeds become more mature or for maximum residual control of later-emerging weeds, use the higher rates within the labeled rate range.
™ ® Trademarks 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 area. Consult the label for full details. Always read and follow label directions.