Farmers move to improve pre-em applications

A quarter of UK farmers have made changes to their spraying operations to get better performance from pre-emergence herbicide applications.

Heeding the advice and results of the Syngenta #lowslowcovered campaign, over 90% now spray at less than 12 km/hr and 84% have increased spray water volume, to at least 150 l/ha, according to results of a series of surveys at farmers’ and operators’ events over the past year.

Syngenta eastern counties application specialist, Harry Fordham, commented: “Most farmers were aware of the Go Low; Go Slow; Get Covered campaign, which focusses attention on fine-tuning application techniques to achieve consistent grass weed control.

“Results of application trials on the Barton Black-grass Focus Site have repeatedly shown that spraying at 12 km/hr or less and maintaining a level boom at 50 cm above the surface achieves better results with any pre-emergence herbicide application.”

Using higher water volume, ideally at 200 l/ha, has also been shown to achieve more consistent results.

“The survey of farmers’ actions highlights the move to higher water rates, and the reports have all seen improvements in grassweed control. The challenge is sprayer efficiency at higher water volume, but there are lots of measures we are looking to share that can help to achieve it,” he advised

Furthermore, the trials have shown that new 90% Drift Reduction Technology (DRT) nozzles can reliably achieve optimum high levels of grass weed control in all conditions.

“Managing drift is a key component of effective pre-em application,” advocated Harry. “Results of new trials, where wind speed was measured at the time of application, has demonstrated the variability of effects on weed control caused by gusty wind moving the spray pattern along the boom.

“Even on a good spray day, with average wind speed of 1.6 m/s, there were gusts of between 0.5 to 8 m/s. Using 90% DRT helped to better mainatin pre-em sprays on target, for more consistent results.”

Over 24,000 Teejet 90% DRT nozzles have been sold in the past two years under the Syngenta Nozzle Offer. That’s sufficient to refit 1500 30-metre sprayers, capable of covering 750,000 hectares of pre-emergence application.

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.