May 5, 2021Summer Sanitation Is Important as Ever
To contact John Palumbo go to: jpalumbo@ag.Arizona.edu
The volatility of herbicides, or the change from a solid or liquid to a gas, is dependent on several environmental factors and is extremely variable. We have been working on finding a replacement for Glyphosate for non-crop weed control and have tried to determine the stability of the potential herbicide alternatives. There are various methods used to measure herbicide volatility. All herbicides are initially tested in the laboratory to determine volatility and other properties. Volatility is specifically measured by placing a given volume of herbicide in a container, exposing it to various temperatures and humidity’s and then weighing how much is left. This is done under very controlled conditions. Another technique that is often the next step is to conduct bioassay studies in a greenhouse. This usually involves placing a container with the herbicide spray solution in a closed environment with sensitive plants. Injury to the bioassay plants are measured visually or by some other means. Field Studies are often conducted to measure herbicide volatility. This technique is the most applied, but the results are often imprecise and variable depending on environmental conditions. This commonly involves spraying an isolated area in the field and after the spray has settled placing sensitive plants at variable distances and directions away. Injury is observed or measured at variable time periods. We used this technique on June 10 to June 15 this year at the Yuma Valley Agriculture Center to measure volatility of 13 herbicides we are evaluating as alternatives to Glyphosate. Seven X 10 Ft. plots were sprayed, and tomato plants were placed 25Ft. away from each sprayed area on the north, south, east and west corners 1 hours after application A 50 Ft. buffer separated each sprayed plot. Visual injury was measured to the tomato plants at 24 and 48 hours after they were placed in the field. The 13 herbicides were used in this trial included 5 modes of action and are listed below.
The temperature reached above 100 F, the humidity was 10 to 20% and wind was 5 to 10 MPH during the trial. No injury symptoms were observed to any of the tomato plants from any of the herbicide treatments. The trial included low volatility formulations of the plant growth regulators, 2-4-D (Embed) and Dicamba (Enginia) which are often volatile under these hot and dry conditions. Neither of these two, or any of the other included herbicides, moved 25 ft or more in this one trial. We know, however, that in other trials the results have sometimes been different. Volatility is variable and difficult to measure in field trials.
It is about that time of the year/growing season when you start seeing bacterial diseases. With the rain we got last week and as plants get more vegetative growth bacterial issues become more prevalent. Cilantro and parsley are two crops grown in desert southwest that often suffer from bacterial leaf spots. Most times, the disease incidence is also high because of sprinkler irrigation used in these cropS. On both crops, initial symptoms of bacterial leaf spot are water-soaked lesions on leaves. The lesions develop into spots that are varying shades of tan or brown (see picture ‘B’ on parsley whereas advanced spots on cilantro can be black (see picture ‘A’ on cilantro). The lesions are usually limited by leaf veins and thus have an angular, square, or rectangular appearance, a typical feature of bacterial infection. Lesions tend to be relatively small about 1/8 to 1/4 inch (3–6 mm) in diameter and are visible from both the top and bottom of leaves. Under favorable conditions, free moisture from rain or sprinkler irrigation, leaf spots may coalesce and cause considerable blighting of the entire foliage.
Pseudomonas syringae pv. apii (Psa) and P. syringae pv. coriandricola (Psc). cause bacterial leaf spot on parsley and cilantro. Pseudomonas syringae pv. apii (Psa) can cause leaf blight in celery and fennel as well. Though the problem is documented as more of a problem in cilantro and less in celery, in severe condition the disease can result in unmarketable produce in any host. The bacteria are likely seedborne in both crops. However, water from rain, sprinkler irrigation, and heavy dews and fogs will splash bacteria from infected plants onto adjacent healthy foliage resulting in heavy infestation.
To manage the disease, always use tested/treated seeds, rotate crop with non-host to reduce inoculum level, switch from sprinkler to furrow irrigation to limit secondary spread, avoid excessive use of nitrogen fertilizer. Copper spray/copper based fungicide provide limited control against the pathogens.
Mark C. Siemens
Vol. 12, Issue 9, Published 5/5/2021
Automated thinning machines have been commercially available since 2012. These machines identify crop plants and intermittently deliver an herbicidal spray or dose of liquid fertilizer to thin the stand to the desired plant spacing. Some growers have converted older machines to spot apply pesticides to crop plants rather than thin lettuce. Spot spraying just the crop plant makes sense – it reduces applied chemical amount by about 1/3rd as compared to band spraying and by roughly 90% as compared to broadcast. I have heard reports of improved efficacy with this technique, perhaps due to better coverage, however this potential benefit has not been validated in formal trials.
A drawback with automated thinning machines is their high cost. Retail prices for machines are approximately $25,000 per seed line, or about $200,000 for a 4-row, 2-line machine. Another option might be to use automated systems designed for spot spraying weeds. These devices have been commercially available since the mid 90’s and function similarly to automated thinning machines in that they use optical sensors to detect plants and solenoid activated spray assemblies to intermittingly spray unwanted plants (Fig. 1). The cost of these devices is quite reasonable – about $3,000 per unit, or about $24,000 for a 4-row, 2-line machine.
Automated spot sprayers are typically used in agriculture to control weeds in fallow fields (Fig. 2), but could easily be adapted to apply pesticides or even fertilizer to vegetable crops. Spot applying foliar fertilizers to vegetable crops is an interesting concept and is being investigated in California with lettuce.
Another potential use of spot sprayers is to control herbicide resistant weeds. The device can be positioned between crop rows to spot spray a non-selective herbicide to target weeds. Placing the sprayer in a hooded enclosure prevents unwanted drift onto crop plants. We are conducting trials using this technique in cotton this season (Fig. 3). We are also looking for collaborators interested in trying the device as a pesticide and/or fertilizer spot applicator in vegetable crops for this upcoming season. If you are interested collaborating or would like to see a demo of the device, please feel free to reach out to me.
Growers and PCAs can monitor data from the Yuma Leaf Wetness Network through the AZMET website located at the following URL: http://184.108.40.206:460
The website updates information on leaf wetness and near-surface air temperature every 15 minutes. Wetness data are provided in graphical format (see figure below). Output from the leaf wetness sensors increase from the grey (dry) zone of the graph to the blue (wet) zone when wetness (dew or rain) is detected by the sensors.
Beet armyworm: Moth activity has declined in most trap location and remains below average for this point in the season.
Cabbage looper: Cabbage looper activity remains unusually low for early November. Trap catches picked up a bit in Wellton and Gila Valley.
Whitefly: Adult movement has been about average for this time of year. Activity highest in Wellton near fall melons being harvested.
Thrips: Thrips activity picking up significantly in several trap locations; activity increased significantly in Bard and Dome and Gila Valleys.
Aphids: Aphid numbers peaked last week in many locations, particularly in the Gilas and Yuma Valleys.
Leafminers: Adult activity increased significantly last week, particularly in the Wellton area near melons.