Sometimes it takes an innovative idea to deal with a production agriculture problem. And that is precisely what has happened in the cotton industry’s ongoing struggle to control resistant pigweed.
Monsanto and Willmar Fabrication have joined forces in developing a new custom-built hooded sprayer that allows for better coverage of weeds under the hoods. The sprayer also has front and end curtains for chemical containment.
“I am definitely encouraged by the early buzz on the design of this new hooded sprayer,” says chief designer Steve Claussen of Willmar. “I think it’s more of an insurance policy for farmers in the fight against these weeds. This is just another tool that they should have.”
Monsanto initially contacted Claussen in June to help begin conversations with farmers on developing a tool for weed management. The result of those meetings was the new 915 Hooded Sprayer from Willmar. In early August, Monsanto and Claussen took the design back to farmers. At that time, they asked that the hoods be made wider than the older models to cover more of each row.
Those suggestions were eventually implemented.
Claussen says farmers were comfortable with spraying Roundup herbicide but had reservations about putting a Gramoxone product inside the hood. Those fears apparently have subsided after farmers saw the newly designed sprayer in action.
South Georgia producer Justin Jones says he doesn’t believe it’s unusual that Monsanto teamed up with an equipment company to help launch this product.
“Monsanto has as much at stake as we do,” says Jones. “It is definitely in their best interest to promote this kind of initiative. Considering the seriousness of the resistant pigweed problem in Georgia, this can’t do anything but help us.”
Jones also agrees with Georgia consultant Jack Royal’s recent comments that “unless we solve this pigweed problem, it will change cotton production in Georgia forever, as we know it.”
Jones is confident that the new hooded sprayer will be another tool for combatting those resistant weeds.
“We know we need to control this problem upfront by starting the season with clean fields. Having access to this hooded sprayer gives us yet another way to deal with these weeds.”
Dave Rhylander, southern marketing manager for Monsanto/Deltapine, says this latest effort is all about doing something for farmers.
“We are not selling the hooded sprayer,” he says. “This is all about the success of Monsanto being based on the success of the farmer. We want to sell solutions to the farmer. When he wants this product, it will be on the shelf ready to be sold.”
Monsanto contributed information for this article. For information about the 915 Hooded Sprayer, contact Willmar Fabrication at (877) 332-2551.
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