As farmers, using herbicides is an essential part of our farm management. They help us control weeds and therefore promote crop yield improvement. Below we’ve listed 3 of the most popular herbicides worldwide so you can find out a bit more about the chemicals you’re using on your fields.
You might know this herbicide simply as ‘Roundup’. Glyphosate is the most common herbicide used around the world. What you might not know is that glyphosate is absorbed through the foliage of all plants, whether they’re your crops or weeds. It inhibits essential amino acids.
What to use it on: any weeds with foliage, particularly grasses and broad leaves as they absorb greater quantities of the herbicides. Large fields that need clearing of a variety of weeds may be suitable for glyphosate.
When to use it: when weeds have already immerged in your fields but before growing any crops (unless they’re resistant). It’s fairly useless as a pre-emergence herbicide against weeds due to being absorbed through foliage rather than roots.
How to use it: spray the herbicide on fields to remove weeds indiscriminately, avoiding drift onto desirable foliage or other fields. Wait until after the half-life of the herbicide before attempting to add crops – less than 2 weeks in aerobic soils, up to 22 days in anaerobic soils.
This selective herbicide was the first of its kind when it was discovered during the Second World War. With the ability to remove certain weeds while leaving crops unharmed, this herbicide is a popular choice across the world and is used to create a wide variety of other herbicides too.
What to use it on: most broad leaf weeds. It is absorbed through the leaves of weeds and destroys them by causing uncontrollable growth, but leaves most of your grass type crops unaffected.
When to use it: Potatoes, corn, rice and other crops are usually unaffected by 2,4-d but check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you won’t destroy your crops by incorrect use. For example, with wheat make sure you spray before the first node of stem becomes visible – after this it could cause damage to your crop.
How to use it: spray before planting or during early growth for effective weed control in fields of grass type crops.
While this herbicide is currently banned in the EU, it is still one of the most widely used herbicides worldwide and is worth knowing about. You might know this herbicide as Gramoxone, which unfortunately has a history of being used in suicides and murders. With careful farm management, ensuring that herbicides are used correctly, kept locked up and only used by responsible farm workers, paraquat can be an effective herbicide on farms.
What to use it on: as a non-selective herbicide, it’s used on a huge range of different weeds and crops to clear large areas. It is particularly effective on super-weeds that have become resistant to glyphosate.
When to use it: when you need to clear fields, after a round of glyphosate in the Australian ‘double knock’ method to prevent weeds developing resistance.
How to use it: spray with extreme care and take all the necessary safety precautions for the environment and your farm workers who may come into contact with the substance.