A Section 18 emergency exemption label has again been granted for Ultra Blazer use in sugarbeet in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2022. A Section 18 label must be applied for, and approved, annually by the EPA and State Departments of Ag. EPA agreed to this label since our only viable option for waterhemp control are soil residual herbicides applied as PPI/PRE and lay-by and there are no viable POST emergent herbicide options.
Research supporting the Section 18 label was conducted by Dr. Tom Peters and graduate student, Emma Burt, and is on-going since 2017. Their research demonstrated sugarbeet tolerance and waterhemp control from Ultra Blazer alone or in mixtures with glyphosate. UPL, the makers of Ultra Blazer, are committed in working to obtain a full Section 3 label in sugarbeet.
The primary control program for waterhemp is a layered soil applied herbicide program, Pre/PPI followed by Lay-by applications. An Ultra Blazer application is for “escaped waterhemp” control if soil applied herbicides had not been activated prior to waterhemp emergence. Waterhemp escapes not controlled will cause economic losses at levels that warranted the Section 18 Ultra Blazer label to be instated.
Notes for Ultra Blazer use in sugarbeet:
In 2021 there were a few challenges in timing Ultra Blazer applications. There was uneven sugarbeet emergence that resulted in varying sugarbeet growth stages throughout fields. This complicated timing an application based on beet size (6 leaf or greater). Also, there was intense heat, over 85°F, that created more potential for sugarbeet injury.
Bronzing of the sugarbeet leaves may occur as an injury symptom. Necrosis or stature reduction injury in sugarbeet from Ultra Blazer did not reduce root yield or percent sugar in 2019 and 2020 research studies when applied on sugarbeet at the 6-leaf stage or greater.
Yield loss from competing waterhemp will have a far greater impact on reducing sugarbeet yield and quality if waterhemp is left uncontrolled.
Consideration should be taken on the time of day and the environment (temperature & humidity) in which Ultra Blazer applications are made to reduce the chance of sugarbeet injury, just as in the past when we were using only conventional herbicides for weed control in sugarbeet.
Waterhemp Control Comparison from Dr. Peter’s Plots