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Black Seeds Beware
Herbicide receives 2(ee) label for seed head suppression

By Carroll Smith
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To say that a rice farmer does not want to see black seeds in his harvested crop is quite an understatement. They have a direct impact on the crop’s quality, which translates to a profitability hit when the mill docks the farmer 30 cents/cwt in grade 3 rice (15 cents /bu) if there are 6 seeds in a 700 gram sample.

Producers typically attacked black-seeded weeds with 2,4-D late in the season. However, drift concerns and application timing delays prompted farmers and consultants to search for an alternative that would meet their needs for these situations. One strategy they discovered that appeared to work was to make a post-flood application of Permit herbicide, which now has a new seed head suppression 2(ee) label in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

Broader window of application
Ronnie Helms, Arkansas researcher and farmer, says the new seed head suppression 2(ee) label for Permit is a great tool to use where broadleaf weeds, which produce black seeds, show up late in the season.

“When some of the harder-to-control broadleaves get through, particularly joint-vetch and coffeebean, you’re looking at big discounts in rice,” Helms says. “We started applying Permit at one ounce per acre with crop oil in our conventional rice, and now we are putting it out with Beyond on Clearfield rice if red rice, jointvetch and coffeebean are present.

“Permit basically stops the plant from growing,” he adds. “It doesn’t really kill the weed, but it becomes a green, odd-shaped plant that doesn’t produce seed.”

Helms also sees the benefit of the new broad application window.

“Now, [with the 2(ee) label] we can apply Permit pre-emergence all the way up to the 48 day pre-harvest interval,” he says. Helms also notes that applying Permit for seed head suppression is not an application that’s made instead of 2,4-D because, in this instance, Permit goes out two to three weeks later.

Timing and weed height
In south Louisiana, Benet Augustine, with CPS in Elton, says the first time he used Permit for seed head suppression in black-seeded weeds was when a farmer wasn’t able to apply 2,4-D on time because of the wind. He was targeting Indian and northern jointvetch that was two to three feet tall and had seeded out, but weren’t filled out. Also present was one to three feet tall hemp sesbania that was not seeded out yet.

Application restrictions

• Total application rate for Permit must not exceed 1.3 oz/acre of product by weight
(0.062 lb. active ingredient) per acre per use season.

• Do not apply Permit within 48 days of harvest.

• 2(ee) label applies to Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.

“First, we put eight ounces of Choice (am-monium sulfate) in the tank, then added one ounce of Permit and one pint of Herbimax crop oil,” Augustine says. “In my experience, this application defoliated most of the leaves, did not let the seeds mature in the pods and did not allow the plant to re-seed.”

As far as timing, Augustine points out that it’s always a good idea to make the application as close to the 48 days prior to harvest restriction to make sure that the weeds are up above the canopy.

“It doesn’t work well if you make the application too early because some of the weeds are still down in the canopy so they don’t actually get hit,” he explains.

The bottom line is that if you do take advantage of this new use for Permit, pay attention to application timing, rates and weed height to keep black seeds out of your crop and more money in your pocket.

Contact Carroll Smith at (901) 767-4020 or

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