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B2—Lancaster Farming, Saturday, September 27, 1980
BLUE BALL Farmers within a two to three mile
radius of Blue Ball have been pestered with a deep-seeded
weed that looks a bit like Johnsongrass, but really is
Shattercane may have come from any of a number of
sources including seed lots, cattle from the South, or
What interests farmers most now about the problem
they are seeing as they chop com is how to get rid of it
The Adult Farmer Program of the Eastern Lancaster
County School District conducted test plots to evaluate
various herbicide combinations to control shattercane m
The plots were on three farms in eastern Lancaster
County, east of Blue Ball along route 23. Each test plot
area was two to three acres in size with each treatment
averaging about one fourth acre. These farms have a
history of moderate to severe shattercane pressue in
Robert Anderson, adult farmer instructor,
stands amid a shattercane infested corn field along
Rt. 23 near Blue Ball. Note height of weed. Over
50 percent of the farms within a two to three mile
radius of the town have shattercane infestations.
identify and control
In addition to evaluating the herbicide combinations,
single versus double incorporation of pre-plant m
corported (PPI) materials was evaluated. Materials were
provided by Stauffer Chemical, Ciba-Geigy Chemical, and
American Cyanamid Chemical Companies.
All herbicides were applied the same day (except the
Prowl) using a sprayer mounted on a disk followed by a
“vibra-shank” field cultivator. For double incorporation,
both implements were used; for single incorporation, the
field cultivator was raised using only the disk. The disk
was set to cut six to eight inches deep. Spraying was done
May 26, corn was planted May 27, Prowl was applied May
28 as a pre-emerge surface application. Incorporation of
Prowl will damage com.
-■Shattercane is a weed that looks similar to sorghura
sudangrass hybrids and Johnsongrass, often growing seed
heads that are taller than the com tassles. In the south it
has been grown as a green-chop forage crop and was
probably introduced into this area for such a purpose.
Unlike the Sudangcass-sorghum hybrids also used for
green-chop, the shattercane seeds will overwinter and
germinate when soils warm up to 60 degrees in the spring.
Seeds will germinate from very deep, up to six inches.
Since the weed is very much like com, herbicides must be
highly selective to be effective on shattercane - therefore,
many of our common com herbicides have little effect.
Because the seeds do not germinate as early as com and
from much deeper, the timing of herbicide application,
the depth and completeness of incorporation becomes
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It was suspected the herbicides Eradicane, Sutan, and
Prowl would have some effectiveness against shat
tercane. AAtrex was added to each of these for broadleaf
weed control. Lasso/AAtrex and Oual/AAtrex were used
as controls since these two combinations had been used
previously and controlled most weeds except shattercane
Weed control was observed throughout the growing
season and a final evaluation was made on September 9
and 10, when the com crop was reatiy to be ensiled.
The evaluations were made by counting the number of
shattercane plants with mature seed heads in eight dif
ferent 150 square feet areas (1200 square feet) in each
treatment on each farm. The results are recorded as
plants per 100 square feet. Control of other weeds was
observed but not recorded in the results. Brief mention of
these is made in the conclusions.
Note: if the weed plants in the 150 square feet area
numbered more than 50 plants, a value of greater-than 50
was recorded. Thus, some of the evaluation summaries
will indicate counts greater-than the average indicated.
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