Revise herbicide strategies as wet weather continues

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Combining a residual with a contact herbicide could be needed this spring warns, Corteva Agriscience’s Alister McRobbie. That’s his advice for growers planning to use Broadway Star.

“Generally, we don’t recommend applying a residual alongside Broadway Star, but this season we would advise it – Broadway Star is contact only, so it will kill the weeds there at the time of application and a residual will remain in the soil and eradicate grassweed seeds as they are germinating, before they get too big,” he explains.

A wet autumn delayed drilling of many winter cereals, causing a backlog of fieldwork that will need to be fulfilled as quickly as possible.

Those who did manage to drill their wheat will also need to review their herbicide strategy following the bad weather.

“We’ve had a number of difficult seasons in a row, and each poses a new challenge for arable farmers,” says “The past couple of years have been very cold and dry, but we’re facing the opposite in 2024.

“Parts of the major wheat-growing areas of the UK are suffering from saturated soils, so it will be a while before there is any on-farm activity in badly affected areas.

“Those with a compressed fieldwork schedule should plan ahead, decide on their herbicide programme in advance, and make sure it’s in store ready to go.”

Those farmers who managed to drill wheat last autumn will also need to rethink their strategy as it is unlikely they will be able to rely on the activity of their pre-emergence applications.

“A lot of the wheat drilled would have received a pre-emergence herbicide, but there has been so much water it is likely this will have been washed through the soil profile,” adds Alister. “It won’t have worked very well, so there will be a need to control grassweeds such as brome, ryegrass and wild oats relatively early.”

The performance of autumn residuals will undoubtedly be impeded by the wet conditions, making a spring clean of weeds even more essential than usual.

Broadway Star is a mainstay of spring grassweed control programmes and will be among the first products applied as soon as the opportunity to get sprayers working presents itself.

Broadway Star also controls a range of difficult broad-leaved weeds, including cleavers, charlock and cranesbill, so there is usually no need for a broad-leaved weed follow up spray.

“If you just need to target broad-leaved weeds, it’s better to take them out early with Arylex-based products such as Zypar or Pixxaro,” Alister says. “Get this on in a timely manner and take weed competition out early to avoid them competing with the crop and negatively impacting yield.

“There will be a lot of demands on farmers’ time this spring but cutting corners and overlooking weed control won’t help in the long run.”

Tank mixing with plant growth regulators, fungicides and trace elements will help reduce the number of sprays applied to crops in the busy spring period. This will be especially helpful with the expected increase in spring drilling work. However, farmers should ensure they don’t neglect sprayer hygiene in order to avoid contaminating subsequent loads.

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