A combination of factors appear to have increased the prevalence of Starane damage found in Cotton crops this year.
The 2015/16 cotton growing season on the Darling Downs has seen the planting of Sorghum directly next to existing Cotton fields with subsequent applications of Starane and Atrazine in the Sorghum to control weeds. This has led to a number of Cotton crops effected by Starane particularly to Cotton plants on the edges of fields. In some cases, Starane effected cotton plants have been seen across entire fields.
Growers’ previous experience with the Starane and Atrazine mix has often shown the mix to have low drift potential when compared to other herbicides but this may have lulled some into a false sense of security. As evidenced by the damage to cotton described above, some herbicide applications have been performed in disregarded to wind direction and speed and have resulted in widespread crop damage.
When applying any Starane this season growers should be mindful of neighbouring crops and the possible impacts of applying the herbicide in unfavourable conditions. The majority of growers understand how to minimise spray drift already but here are a few links to governments websites discussing how to minimise spray drift.
Written by Robert Boulton
Black Earth Agronomy
2nd Dec 2015