SAVE MONEY AND INPUTS WHEN SPRAYING
We’ve put together our top ways to save you money and get the most out of your inputs when spraying; whether you are spraying for weeds, insects/pests, or diseases/fungus, we have you covered!
1.) Find Your Economic Threshold : An Economic Threshold refers to the density of the pest vs. the economic return you would get from the controlled treatment.
There are four factors that affect the Economic Threshold:
- Cost of Spraying AKA Dollar Value of Treatment
- Pest Density
- The physical number of pests per area.
- Growth Stage of the Pest
- i.e. If a weed is in its seedling stage vs. reproductive stage, will it take significant resources from your crop if it’s not treated?
- Yield Loss
- The yield that is expected to be lost if your field is left untreated.
There are many online calculators to determine Economic Thresholds, below is an example of a Green Foxtail calculation .
2.) ID Your Pests:
- Use your resources, whether it be your agronomist, or even a few quality mobile applications to identify the pest causing problems on your field.
- Ag Weed ID: This app allows you to take a photo and compare your problem weed to a database of others.
- BASF Cereal Diseases App: This application gives you all pathogens that affect Cereal crops and their corresponding symptoms, life cycle, etc.
- AgPhD: This is a handy little app that can help you ID both insects and weeds, in addition it provides you with ways to best control them.
- Once you ID exactly which pest is causing problems, research just how aggressive or herbicide/pesticide resistant they are. Those pests with some form of resistance will be important to treat more quickly than some of your more benign and less aggressive varieties.
- For herbicide resistant weed varieties for your area click on the links below. Just select from the links below, and input your country in the upper left hand corner of the web page.
- For insects and pathogens with some form of pesticide resistance check with your local government agency, your agronomist, or do a basic internet search to find additional information.
- The Government of Saskatchewan has a very thorough handbook on Crop Protection and more information on pesticide, insecticide, and herbicide resistant pests .
3.) Think Timing:
- Treat the pest before it becomes a major problem that competes heavily with your crops for resources and optimally before it reaches its peak reproductive growth stages.
- Spray when wind is blowing consistently in one direction at a speed of between 2 – 15 km per hour or 1.5 – 10 miles per hour .
- Spraying is best when temperature is low (below 25° C or 77° F) and relative humidity is high (40 percent humidity and above) .
- Read the pesticide/herbicide labelling carefully to determine if rain will either be helpful or hurtful to your spray application.
4.) Add Fertilizer when you Spray:
You can add both Macronutrients and Micronutrients at the same time you spray your pesticide/herbicide application, all in one pass. This may save you some dollars and some labour.
5.) Adapt an Integrated Pest Management plan
An IPM involves learning more about your pests, their behaviour, life cycles, and interactions. Understanding the pest will help you learn more ways to better control it or treat it. The Environmental Protection Agency provides more information on how to make your own plan at this link :
Written and Published by Jessica Kohls, BSc, PgCE – Dutch Biologist