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Grape IPM in the Northeast

Economics of Three Row-middle Strategies

The economics of weed management strategies are more weather-dependent for row middles than they are for the area under the trellis. In a wet year, yield differences among row-middle treatments are minimal. In a dry year, water competition from row-middle vegetation can make a difference in yields and vine size. In a dry year, the following strategies 1 (herbicide) and 3 (trashy cultivation) will outperform strategy 2 (mowing). The grower costs for three common row-middle strategies are shown below.

l. Mowing Plus Row-Middle Roundup Application

 Mowing (1 time)

  Roundup Application

 Labor (0.7 hr. X $8/hr.)

 $5.60

 Roundup (1.5 qt/A sprayed) 1 qt.

  $11.13

 Equipment

 2.01

  Nonionic surfactant 6.4 oz.

  .75

 

 

 Ammonium sulfate 1.7 lb.

 .65

 

 

 Labor 0.7 hr. X $8/hr.

 5.60

 

 

 Equipment

 2.01

 Total

 $7.61

 Total

 $20.14

 Total cost for row middle: $7.61 + $20.14 = $27.75

2. Mowing

 Mowing (4 times) 2.8 labor hours ($8/hr.)

 Labor

 $22.40

 Equipment

 $ 8.04

 Total

 $30.44

3. Disking

 Disking (3 times) 4.8 labor hours ($8/hr.)

 Labor

 $38.40

 Equipment

 $15.21

 Total

 $53.61

Disking (trashy cultivation) poses some potential problems with a spray program. Cultivation followed by heavy rains may make vineyards impassable to machinery. This could lead to growers' inability to spray fungicides on a timely basis. Also, grape harvesters won't have as firm a footing. Using herbicides can be the cheapest method for row-middle management once labor and equipment costs are taken into account. (Brand names are used for illustrative purposes only.)

Author: Barry Shaffer