For Bill Hill, two integral pieces among his hay equipment are a sprayer and a leaf blower.
Last year, the Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, producer used the sprayer and a new herbicide to get a handle on an increasing weed problem. Now, along with weed spraying, he uses the leaf blower to clean haymaking equipment as part of his defense.
“I had a terrible infestation of buckhorn plantain,” Hill says. “I started off with a little patch, and in a couple years, we had spots as big as a house.”
Hill believes he spread it around his East Tennessee farm himself.
“Three or four years ago, I didn’t pay attention to those little bitty seedheads,” he says. He believes those seedheads caught a ride on his mower-conditioner and moved from one spot to the next, from one field to another.
“It’s an invasive weed. It’s aggravating. If it’s in your hayfield, you cut off those seedheads and you do a great job of sowing it,” Hill says.
Then it crowds out forage plants.
The cattleman and hay producer typically sprays his pastures and hayfields every year.
“Sometimes I can skip, but you can’t skip too many times. You either spray and control broadleaves or broadleaves take over,” he says. “I’ve seen many a field where they take over.”
Even with Hill’s regular spraying, buckhorn plantain was gaining ground — until last year. Friends with Tennessee Farmers Co-Op told him about a new product touted to control 140 weed species: DuraCor® herbicide. One of those species is buckhorn plantain.
Hill sprayed three orchardgrass hayfields in March with DuraCor at 18 fluid ounces per acre. That rate afforded soil residual activity for several weeks to control later germinations of many types of weeds. It proved effective on buckhorn plantain.
“I hate to say 100% control, but it was close,” Hill says.
Fields stayed clean of buckhorn plantain and most other weeds through the summer.
“After the second cutting, I had a little bit of horsenettle come in, but not as much as the previous year,” he says. “No buckhorn plantain came back.”
Hill made his last hay cutting in early October. He had to hunt for buckhorn plantain to find it.
“I hardly saw any except in my untreated test plots — that’s what I call the streaks I missed,” he says.
And that’s enough reason to employ the leaf blower to blow off any hitchhiking seed. “Now I always try to clean my machine before I take it to another field,” he says.
® 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. Always read and follow label directions. © 2021 Corteva.