Why I’m Spraying:
Today I’m spraying out the wheat that is growing from the crop that we harvested this past summer. We can’t grow the wheat as a volunteer crop, even though it looks like it would be healthy and happy, because there is a huge risk of disease. Also this wheat was contracted seed wheat, so we can’t reproduce or replant any seeds that may have hung around another year.
I need to kill the wheat so that the crimson clover that we planted has a chance to grow. There is so much wheat out here that it would quickly steal not only nutrients but also water, possibly even shading out the clover. The competition is too high so the wheat has to go.
What I’m Spraying:
Today I’m spraying a chemical mix that is aimed at targeting only grass species so it will not hurt the small growing crimson clover. The mix is made up of three chemicals; clethodim, crop oil, and drift reducer, and also a whole lot of water.
Why so many chemicals in this mixture that is only aimed at one species? Well they all play their role…
- Clethodim is the actual grass killer. It kills on contact so must be sprayed on a dry day because the rain would just wash it off the plants before they soak it in. Making the Spray useless.
- Crop oil helps to keep the spray on the plant material and helps the plant absorb the chemical.
- Drift reducer is used to make the mixture “heavier” so that the spray goes right where my target is.
- The water is the carrier so I can get the correct rate of chemical equally across all the acres.
How much am I spraying?
Now this may suprise you! Per acre I’m putting on 19.64 gallons of water, 1.7 pints of crop oil, 8 ounces of clethodim, and only 3.2 ounces of drift reducer! So literally picture a football field (which is about an acre), imagine spreading out four five gallon buckets of water, less than two pints of oil, one cup of weed killer, and a 1/3 cup of drift reducer over the entire field!!! It’s truly incredible what you can do with spray technology, which I might add is not a new technology at all!
You can see from the picture above that the fog coming out of the spray boom really looks like I’m dowsing the crop. But the reality is that with my sprayer, which has 80 foot booms, at the rate and pressure I’m spraying, I have to drive 22 feet before even 1 gallon total of spray mixture is applied. Like I said, what we do is precise in many ways.
So there you have it, the Why, What, and How of spraying volunteer wheat out of clover came to be my job for this sunny day. If you have any questions about this application or any other sprays you hear of, just let me know. I’m always here to answer questions about why we do what we do out here on the farm.