Pelargonic acid - the nuclear option for sucker control??
Chemical alternatives to fatty alcohol for tobacco sucker control have recently been evaluated in North Carolina. Pelargonic acid is a fatty acid used for weed control in conventional and organic crops that has been proposed as a suitable candidate for contact sucker control in flue-cured and burley tobacco. Research was conducted in North Carolina from 2015 to 2019 to evaluate various formulations, solution concentrations, and application methods for suckercide progams containing pelargonic acid. Across a wide range of growing environments sucker control efficacy following pelargonic acid application was largely impacted by solution concentration, with higher concentrations providing a higher level of control. Unfortunately, higher solution concentrations also result in extremely high leaf injury. In some treatments, leaf injury was greater than sucker control efficacy - thus lending further concern to the use of the active ingredient. The inclusion of systemic suckercides may generally improve sucker control; however, injury from pelargonic acid is still too great for commercial acceptance. Further refinement of the products containing pelargonic acid are recommended to improve emulsification and homogenization. In addition, further research is warranted to identify the potential use of Pelargonic acid as a contact herbicide in tobacco production. (Reprinted with permission)