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Looking for effective pre-emergence weed control in potatoes

Weed control in potatoes Fruitfed Facts 2022

Looking for effective pre-emergence weed control in potatoes

Following several years of joint trial work with Fruitfed Supplies, Bayer Crop Science introduced the pre-emergence selective herbicide Artist® in 2019 for the control of broadleaved weeds in potatoes.

Artist combines two active ingredients in one container to help control many key weeds in potato crops. It provides the historically effective control of metribuzin and has the additional efficacy of flufenacet, a new active ingredient for the potato industry. The herbicide comes as a Water Dispersible Granule (WDG) and is applied once per season at a rate of 2.5 kg/ha before weeds and potatoes have emerged.

Craig Watson, Technical Field Representative for Fruitfed Supplies, spends his time among the potato, carrot and other processing crops grown in mid and south Canterbury. He’s seen Artist used in many of these crops over the past three years.

“Crop safety with herbicides and good weed control is absolutely crucial for potato crops to get off to the best possible start,” Craig says.

“Metribuzin has been a mainstay of weed control in potato crops for many years due to its effectiveness. The addition of flufenacet in the formulation with metribuzin in Artist broadens the spectrum of weeds being controlled.

“Since our growers started using Artist, it has proven itself as an effective pre-emergent weed control option that controls a range of problematic weeds such as cleavers, fumitory and other broadleaf weeds.”

Craig adds that Artist has other benefits. “It’s easy to use, and the length of activity it provides is great. We see weed control right through to row closure from that single pre-emergence application of Artist. When used as directed, Artist is a good option for our customers.”

Simon Binnie has grown a lot of potatoes in his 14 years as Operations Manager for Crichel Downs in Canterbury. Having used Artist for the last two seasons, he has also seen the benefits of using it as a pre-emergent herbicide.

“Our paddocks are the cleanest they’ve been for some time. It’s got the edge over others we have used and has been a good product for us.

Simon sees the benefits of the co-formulation in giving greater efficacy, adding: “Artist controls a broad spectrum of weeds, meaning we need less tank-mix herbicides. The formulation is also easy to mix if we do have to add a product like Roundup®.

Crop safety is also important to Simon. “We follow the label recommendations and find when we apply to damp soil prior to crop emergence per the usage guidelines, we don’t see any issues with Artist affecting the crop and we get a great length of control. We are now entering our third season using Artist, and we’ll look to use it over nearly all our potato plantings this year.”

Best use guidelines:

Artist needs to be applied to damp soil or when irrigation or rainfall is expected, as moisture is required for the product to work effectively.

Artist should be applied before weeds germinate and the crop emerges, as its mode of action means it controls weeds only as they germinate. Weeds growing from rhizomes or other survival structures, such as thistles, twitch and corn bind, are unlikely to be controlled as effectively. The application of an approved post-emergence herbicide may be necessary to obtain complete control of weed species not susceptible to Artist, or later germinating ones.

Ridges should be well rounded with few clods. Cultivations should produce a soil tilth that requires no further improvement after planting. Do not disturb the soil after application by harrowing or rolling. Cultivation after spraying encourages weed germination and reduces the residual activity of Artist. Ensure Artist is applied evenly overall to both sides of potato ridges.

If you have any questions about Artist and its use in potatoes, talk with your Fruitfed Supplies Technical Horticultural Representative.

ACVM Registration Number: Artist® #P9555. Read the registered label before use.