Tim Cooper says a simple solution has saved him weeks of time and weather watching.
That simple solution is herbicideimpregnated dry fertilizer. The Harrison, Arkansas, cow-calf operator was an early user after it became available in his state in 2017. He hasn’t hooked up to his sprayer since.
Before then, he had used commercially applied dry fertilizer on his pastures and then used his own sprayer to treat weeds. For the last four years, his fertilizer applicator has combined those trips.
“It saves so much time. They can be done in a day or two, and it would take me weeks to get it all sprayed,” Cooper says. “I don’t worry about wind or getting any (spray drift) on my neighbor.
“When I was spraying, I’d have to check the wind every day. With this (herbicide-impregnated dry fertilizer), it doesn’t make any difference.”
With herbicide in dry fertilizer, producers have learned they save a trip or save an application cost. Herbicide drift is less of a concern because the herbicide can’t go any farther than the slung dry fertilizer.
Cooper has tapped Quality Feed Grains in Harrison to treat and spread his herbicide-impregnated dry fertilizer. Last year, the applicator switched from GrazonNext® HL herbicide to new DuraCor® herbicide for those applications.
Spreader trucks rolled over Cooper’s 580 acres of predominately fescue-with-bermudagrass pastures in early May. They applied 200 pounds of 26-0-26 per acre treated with DuraCor® herbicide at 20 ounces per acre.
Cooper prefers application in mid-April, but wet weather delayed his application in 2020. It still worked.
“At that time, you get the early weeds and the late weeds,” he says. “Grass just explodes if you get some rain.”
Other users like to apply soon after greenup in the spring to take advantage of every growing day.
Impregnating fertilizer is a simple process for the herbicide seller. Herbicide is sprayed on the dry fertilizer granules or pellets during the blending process.
Corteva Agriscience requires retailers to use dedicated equipment for herbicide-impregnated fertilizer — to be used on pasture and nothing else — to avoid potential for the herbicide to be spread onto sensitive crops.
Adding a dye alerts users to the presence of the herbicide. The dye also makes it easier for the retailer and customer to tell how well it’s blended.
To get an adequate dose of herbicide properly distributed, the herbicide should be applied with at least 200 pounds of dry fertilizer per acre.
Rainfall puts the herbicide-fertilizer solution into the soil. Weed control is almost entirely dependent on the soil residual activity of the herbicide and root uptake by the weeds.
For that reason, weed control from impregnated fertilizer may be less than that from foliar applications, say Corteva Agriscience Range & Pasture experts.
But Cooper has seen a different dynamic at work.
Cooper says his overall weed control has improved with his adoption of herbicide-impregnated dry fertilizer, but it’s because of better application. The commercial applicator’s coverage with dry fertilizer is better than his when he sprayed a liquid.
“It was me spraying, and I don’t have a GPS (global positioning system) or markers,” he says. “I was just going by sight, using a cluster nozzle, and I’d get off course. The only place they missed is where it was too wet to drive.”
Cooper rates his weed control with dry fertilizer treated with DuraCor herbicide at 90% or better. Pastures stayed clean through the summer.
The combination of weed control and fertilization is a big contributor to the pasture productivity that allows Cooper to stock one cow to 1.5 acres. He also takes a hay cutting from select pastures.
“You just can’t afford to fertilize a weed,” he says.
™ ® 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. Consult the label for full details. 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. DuraCor is labeled for impregnation of dry fertilizer in the states of AL, AR, FL, GA, IA, KS, KY, LA, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, OK, OR, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WA and WV. Always read and follow label directions.