However, throughout South Carolina and well into east-central North Carolina the major weed hurdle to growing most any crop is Palmer amaranth. A vigorous, rigorous and costly system of over-lapping residual herbicides has shown some success in managing these prolific weeds in cotton, but many of these materials aren’t available on peanuts and soybeans.

For controlling pigweed and other tall growing weeds in peanuts and cotton, growers have used wick bars, often referred to as “Dixie wicks”. The problem with a wick bar is that it only wipes one side of the plant.

Clemson weed scientist Mike Marshall has tested a new machine that is essentially a carpet roller mounted on a steel drum. Herbicide is pumped onto the carpet, which coats the taller weed without damaging the target crop.

Unlike a wick bar or wick rope, the carpet roller pulls the weed in and wipes it on both sides. It also allows herbicides to run down into the plant without dripping on the crop.

“The rates we’ve used are 50 percent gramoxone or paraquat and 50 percent water solution. A big advantage is that you are killing the top of the weed where seed production takes place, and with Palmer amaranth this is a big advantage because these weeds are such prolific seed producers,” Marshall notes.

Marshall says test results, using a research scale model of the commercially available machine has been good. He adds that a few farmers in South Carolina, who have used the commercial version of the machine, have indicated having excellent results in controlling weed escapes in soybeans and peanuts.

The cost of the commercial version of the carpet roller is approximately $20,000 and up, depending on what type pump and other equipment is added on to the roller.
rroberson@farmpress.com