Maximise herbicide applications this spring

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Growers wanting to effectively control weeds whilst reducing their inputs should maximise their herbicide efficiency this spring.

Commercial technical manager at FMC, Mat Hutchings, said that the rising price of input costs will mean farmers will want to reduce inputs to save on cost and minimise environmental impact: “Herbicides are fundamental for the control of spring germinating weeds in winter cereal crops, and it will be difficult to achieve optimum margins if herbicide inputs are reduced. It’s a real balancing act.”

He recommended that growers should aim to maximise the performance of their applications, where appropriate, through tank mixing, cultivation and by tailoring herbicide applications around seasonal conditions.

Sulfonylurea (SU) herbicides are a group of products which are effective at controlling weeds. Mr Hutchings said: “Ally® Max SX® is an example of a co-formulated SU herbicide, which contains metsulfuron and tribenuron. It has wide weed spectrum when applied alone but can also be used with an appropriate partner product if the weed spectrum dictates. It is a good choice for growers looking to maximise their herbicide performance.”

Mat Hutchings – commercial technical manager

Other recommendations included giving consideration to how cultivation could help reduce weed pressures: “When growers are considering these options, they should always speak to their agronomist and decide which methods suit their land before making any significant decisions,” he said.

Mr Hutchings also advised that growers should remain aware of weather conditions which can significantly affect weed growth and consequently, herbicide performance. Ideally any herbicide applications made should be targeted at smaller actively growing weeds to give the most effective control. Where this is not possible growers should consider increasing herbicide rates or water volumes to improve coverage, especially on weeds like groundsel which can become large very quickly and can develop waxy leaves in windy, dry conditions.

“Weed control can be challenging but it’s always better to reduce the risk of a problem before it becomes a major challenge later down the line,” he said. “Although some growers may be tempted to make cutbacks with products, I’d recommend always working with your agronomist to investigate how you can optimise applications rather than compromise them.”

For more information on SU herbicides, speak to your agronomist or visit



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