Efficacy and economics of summer fallow conventional and reduced-tillage programs for sugarcane

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During the summer fallow period of the sugarcane production cycle, glyphosate in conjunction with frequent tillage is used to destroy sugarcane regrowth and reduce perennial weed infestations. For tillage to be reduced or eliminated in fallowed fields, weed control must be maintained and sugarcane must be completely destroyed so as not to interfere with the subsequent planting operation. Field studies were conducted to evaluate glyphosate rates and formulations for control of sugarcane, bermudagrass, and johnsongrass. Glyphosate (isopropylamine salt) applied in April at 1.68, 2.24, and 2.80 kg ai/ha controlled 15-cm sugarcane at least 95% 42 d after treatment (DAT). Control of 25-and 40-cm sugarcane was maximized at 1.68 kg/ha (91 and 86% control, respectively). In another study, 25-cm sugarcane was controlled equally with isopropyl amine and potassium salt glyphosate formulations. Bermudagrass control 40 d after glyphosate was applied at 1.12 kg/ha was 86% and increased to 98% when the same rate was applied sequentially. In fallowed sugarcane fields, conventional-tillage, reduced-tillage, and no-tillage programs were implemented from mid-April through mid-August to evaluate weed control and economics. When a glyphosate application was substituted for a tillage operation, bermudagrass and johnsongrass control was increased compared with the conventional tillage alone program, but differences in sugarcane and sugar yield among the various programs the following year were not observed. Based on 2006 costs, elimination of a single tillage operation reduced cost $18.49/ha and addition of glyphosate (2.8 kg/ha plus application cost) increased cost $43.47/ha. Total cost for the conventional tillage-alone fallow program was $110.94/ha; where herbicide was used in the reduced-tillage and no-tillage programs, total cost was $19.47 to $77.38/ha more. Nomenclature: Diuron; glyphosate; hexazinone; bermudagrass, Cynodon dactylon L. Pers. CYNDA; johnsongrass, Sorghum halepense L. Pers. SORHA; sugarcane, Saccharum spp. hybrids 'LCP 85-384'.

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Weed Technology

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