By Stanley Culpepper
Recently, several articles have suggested Brake (fluridone) may be the panacea for Palmer amaranth control. This simply was not the case in Georgia research during 2012. Six experiments compared standard programs (www.gaweed.com) to those focusing on Brake applied at planting in both dryland (dry at planting time) and irrigation.
At the irrigated sites, where at-plant herbicides were activated, Palmer amaranth control by Brake systems was as effective as standard programs. However at the dryland sites, programs relying on Brake failed while standard programs were more successful. This failure was in response to Brake requiring more rainfall for activation as compared to products such as Reflex. Cotton tolerance to Brake was superb at 5 of 6 locations with only minor injury noted at the sixth location.
To be clear, in no way is this an effort to be negative toward Brake but rather stressing the value of research and the need for the research to be completed before grower use. Until research defines both the strengths and weaknesses of the Brake weed management systems, it is simply not in the best interest of Georgia cotton farmers to use this product. We strongly encourage growers to follow current, research-based programs focusing on timeliness as we, and the manufacture of Brake, develop effective Brake herbicide systems.
Positives for Brake Herbicide Today:
1. Alternative chemistry for the cotton grower.
2. Potentially extended residual control of Palmer amaranth and many other weeds.
3. Good cotton tolerance.
Negatives for Brake Herbicide Today:
2. Significant rotational concerns (much research needed).
3. Over half inch of rainfall or irrigation needed to activate (likely can overcome issue through research).
Culpeper is the cotton weed specialist with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.