ISSUE #431

431 - Weed Free In 2003?


American Crystal shareholders have identified weeds as their most serious production problem in 22 of the past 26 years. Economic losses due to weed competition and potential losses in storage are great. Cost of using herbicides, rotary hoes, harrows, labor and flail shredders before defoliators is commonly $60, $80 or even $100 per acre. Shareholders have to make these expenditures wisely. Use of more soil applied herbicides is one weed control strategy to consider this year.

Economic Impact of Weed Competition:

The American Crystal Model Farm Team with assistance from Dr. Alan Dexter has quantified extent of loss to weeds. Losses were based on the 2001 crop year survey of growers conducted by Dr. Dexter.

Economic impact of efficacy of weed control based on 2001 grower survey responses and weed competition research is shown in Table 1. Total losses are based on 498,000 planted acres.

Table 1. Economic Impact of Weed Competition to ACSC:

Weed Control Rating% of Acres$ Loss/ATotal ACSC Revenue Loss
Poor 4 $160 $3,200,000
Fair 24 $80 $9,600,000
Good 54 $40 $10,800,000
Excellent 18 $0 $0
    TOTAL: $23,600,000

Why Do These Losses Occur?

  • Post emergence broadleaf herbicides don't always give excellent weed control.
  • Herbicide misapplications
  • Herbicide resistant weeds
  • Weather problems
  • Shift in weed populations


Options to Maximize Weed Control in 2003:

Achieving maximum weed control in 2003 may necessitate a return to use of a soil applied herbicide. Use of sugarbeet herbicides containing ethofumesate (Nortron, Ethotron, or Etho SC) has the ability to provide good to excellent control of Upbeet resistant Kochia. These products also give excellent pigweed control. For best results and to save time and dollars apply these products in a 7 inch band over the row at planting. It's also possible to use a band sprayer after planting to apply the herbicide in a 7 to 10 inch band.

Benefits of Nortron and its Generics; Ethotron and Etho SC:

  • Safest soil applied herbicide for beets in the Red River Valley
  • Good to excellent control of resistant Kochia
  • Effective weed control for up to 10 weeks
  • Weeds that escape through banded Nortron are pre-conditioned for easier kill
  • Eliminates need for a layby herbicide
  • MAY reduce the need for one microrate application
  • Cost of a 7 inch band estimated to be about $25 (dependent on product prices)

Use Guidelines For Nortron, Ethotron and Etho SC:

  • Heavy previous crop residue may reduce weed control
  • 0.5 to 0.75 inches of rain needed to activate the herbicide
  • Don't cultivate close to beet rows, this may reduce weed control
  • Will control cover crop in the banded area
  • Best to rotate to beans after use - carryover damage might occur to wheat after beets if the growing season is very dry.
  • Can't be tank mixed with Roundup at planting time.
  • Don't use looped drag chains for incorporation.

Where Can Shareholders Learn More About Using Nortron or Generic Products Containing Ethofumesate?

  • NDSU and U of MN grower seminars
  • Close The Gap II presentations
  • Contact your agriculturist
  • Dealers, consultants and other allied industry experts


Now is the time to make plans to set your planter up to apply pre-emerge Nortron, Ethotron, or Etho SC this spring.

Learning Opportunity

The American Society of Sugarbeet Technologists will hold their 32nd biennial meeting in San Antonio, TX from February 26 to March 1, 2003. This UNIQUE meeting will be held jointly with the European sister organization the IIRB. To find out more about the meeting go to the link on under sugar associations called BSDF/ASSBT. Registration program and hotel information is available.