0722roundupbeetsdrawattenti.cfm Roundup Ready beet research draws interest
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Roundup Ready beet research draws interest

Roundup Ready sugar beets aren't the only crop grown at the University of Wyoming's Powell Research and Extension Center, but they certainly draw attention from growers in the Big Horn Basin.

Roundup Ready trials were part of the PREC field day July 9. Roundup Ready beet research began in the mid-1990s by Stephen D. Miller, now an associate dean and the director of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station, and Abdel Mesbah, then a UW graduate student and now the director of PREC. Companies did not endorse the technology, and it languished until about 2002, when the industry was ready to accept its use, said Miller.

Its use has produced some of the most weed-free fields ever. "But like any technology, if we are not careful we might abuse it," said Miller

Mesbah is conducting several trials to determine the effects of rate, time and number of applications of Roundup on weed control, sugar beet yield, and sugar content. To reduce cost of application, tank mixing several insecticides and/or fungicides with Roundup are being investigated. Roundup is a contact herbicide with no residual effect, so, to control late emerging weeds, Mesbah is evaluating the effect of tank mixing Roundup with soil residual herbicides.

Weeds and infestation degree in the trial site varied depending on the weed species: heavy infestation-redroot pigweed, common lambsquarters, redstem filaree, wild buckwheat; moderate infestation-Venice mallow, lanceleaf sage, kochia, common purslane; light infestation - wild oats, volunteer barley and wild sunflowers.

Depending on the weed species and degree of infestation, growers can apply Roundup two or three times, according to Mesbah. Easy-to-kill weeds require at least two applications of Roundup whenever the weeds reach 2 inches high (first application consists of 32 ounces per acre, while the second applications could be 32 or 22 ounces per acre). Hard-to-kill weeds require three applications starting at the two-leaf sugar beet stage and using the following rates: first application 32 ounces per acre, second and third application 22 or 32 ounces per acre.

Control of volunteer Roundup Ready corn in Roundup Ready sugar beets is also being studied. The project seeks to determine the optimal timing, tank-mix partners, and surfactants to control Roundup Ready corn without causing significant injury to the beets.

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