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October 1, I960
There's Farming to Be Done in the Fall
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Fall applications of high rates of 2,4-D amine are especially effective
against leafy spurge, Russian knapweed, whitetop and toadflax.
By EUGENE HEIKES
FALL IS NOT the season usually associated with chemi
cal weed control, but some hard-to-kill perennial weeds are
easier killed when treated in the fall.
Several chemical treatments for control of such weeds as
leafy spurge, Russian knapweed, whitetop and toadflax, are
effective when made in late fall. These weeds are al
most resistant to normal rates of 2,D-D when treated in the
spring or during the growing season. At this time 2,4-D will
give some degree of top-kill but usually the weeds will
emerge again the following spring and show little effect from
the previous year's treatment.
High rates of 2,4-D amine applied in late fall have given
90 per cent kill or better of the four weeds mentioned above.
Fifty pounds of the basic 2,4-D per acre are recommended.
This would be 12V2 gallons of a 4-pound-per-gallon 2,4-D
material. Thirty pounds per acre have been enough for
The treatment should be made in late October, just before
the soil freezes. At this time, soil bacterial action is less and
there is more chance of moisture to take the chemical into
the soil. The 2,4-D moves through the soil, coming in direct
contact with the weed roots. Best results have been obtained
when there is little vegetation and the 2,4-D solution can be
applied directly to the soil, such as in summerfallow. It is
also well to use a high volume of water—160 gallons of water
per acre, or more.
This type of treatment will sterilize the soil until about
the middle of June the following season, or until the soil
warms. It does not kill most native grasses.
This treatment may sound unreasonably high in cost. It
is expensive, but cheaper than other forms of soil sterilants
and does not sterilize the soil for any long period of time.
The 2,4-D amine costs about 75 cents per pound of parent
material. This makes the cost for chemical about $37.50 per
acre. The usual soil sterilants cost between $150 and $250
per acre and render the soil unproductive for two years or
A 2,3,6-TBA treatment has given a higher percentage kill
of these weeds than the 2,4-D treatment mentioned. TBA is
more expensive but, for spot treatments or small areas, it
may be better to use than 2,4-D even though the cost is high
. The chemical, 2,3,6-TBA, is sold under several trade
names in Montana. It, too, can be applied in the fall, or when
ever moisure can be expected. It may be applied in early
spring also. (Continued on page 14)
By ARTHUR F. SHAW
PLANS FOR SPRING should begin in the fall. And a good
place to begin in the fall is with soil sampling. A representa
tive sample from a field may be obtained with a soil probe
or a spade. When using a spade take a thin slice of soil to
a depth of 5 to 6 inches. Put this in a bucket and repeat in
10 to 15 places over the field.
Mix the soil well and take out a 1-pound coffee can full.
Take this to your county extension agent and fill out a ques
tionnaire and have the sample submitted to the laboratory
for analysis. A small fee is charged for this service but it is
And don't wait until spring. Do it now.
I was reminded of fall fertilization when watching a com
mercial operator apply liquid phosphoric acid with soil injec
tion equipment. His machine was equipped with a 30-foot
boom and applicator shoes, allowing him to cover a large
acreage in a day's time. The owner of the land that was
being treated has learned from experience that it pays to
fertilize heavily for sugar beets and alfalfa. With fall phos
phate applications he is able to get his land prepared for
Apply and Plow
Many farmers now own broadcast spreaders and can apply
the dry pelleted forms of phosphate fertilizer. Apply the
phosphate and then plow down. There is no danger of loss
of nutrients from leaching.
It has been estimated that two-thirds of our irrigated soils
are low in available phosphorus. Unless you have been fol
lowing a good fertilization program, chances are your soils
are low. For highest production as well as for improved
quality of the hay, alfalfa needs a high level of phosphoric
acid. That's nearly 300 pounds of (continued on page 14)
HAVE YOU HAD A SOIL TEST ?
ASK ABOUT IT HERE
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Walt Mauritson, Flathead County Extension agent, shows a display of
soil testing equipment and methods as used in his county fertility pro
gram. For advice and assistance in taking soil samples, see your county
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