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Better black-grass control? That is the question Farmers now have a more powerful tool for black-grass control with the launch of Hamlet, says crop protection company Bayer. Hamlet is a post-emergence herbicide for winter wheat that continues the company’s line of existing black-grass control products such as Atlantis WG (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron) and Liberator (flufenacet + diflufenican). “Hamlet offers a step up in control compared with Atlantis WG,” says Ben Coombs (right) of Bayer. “We have several years’ data from trials and the improvement is about 10 per cent more blackgrass control than Atlantis WG and a similar amount for rye-grass control.” In trials from 2014–2016, Hamlet has consistently outperformed Atlantis WG with the improvement ranging from 5–15 per cent but the typical amount is between 5–10 per cent, he highlighted. Another feature is that Hamlet shows less variability with more consistent levels of blackgrass control. The active substances in Hamlet are mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron + diflufenican. Bayer has used these actives in other products but the amount of these actives delivered and the quality of formulation

in Hamlet sets it apart, says the company. Hamlet has an advanced oil dispersion formulation that increases speed and quantity of uptake of the active substances by the plant.

Differences Farmers that are used to Atlantis WG need to be aware of one or two differences to get the most out of the new product, according to Dr Gordon Anderson-Taylor (right) of Bayer. “Hamlet should be used during the autumn and winter period when its diflufenican component will provide maximum efficacy. So we would not recommend using it once spring growth starts.” The exact date of this will vary from year-to-year but Bayer’s recommendation is to only use it until the end of February. “With Hamlet, it’s probably better to focus on how early you can spray it rather than how late,” continues Dr Anderson-Taylor. “Our trials show that early application gives you an improvement against black-grass

Hamlet shows more consistent levels of black-grass control than Atlantis WG, says Bayer.

with enhanced metabolism resistance (EMR) – the most common type of resistance in UK black-grass.” The aim is to apply Hamlet when black-grass is at the 1–3 leaf stage before it tillers – typically that will mean applying from November onwards. “Hamlet is the last stage in a programme that uses delayed drilling – around the 15th October – paired with Liberator and probably one or two other products at preem. After the pre-em, any survivors are weakened so coming back in the autumn with a post-em means that the whole programme gets an uplift in control.” Applying Hamlet at any point before tillering will give worthwhile control and a yield gain that covers the cost of application in most situations, points out Bayer. It’s also important to note that Hamlet is strong against ryegrass and meadow-grass with a good spectrum of broad-leaved weeds controlled too.

Resistance For resistant popualtions, growers need to be aware that Hamlet is based on the same class of active substances as Atlantis WG so reduced sensitivity to Atlantis WG will be evident to Hamlet too. Black-grass with ALS target-site-resistance will continue to have resistance

to Hamlet. However, populations with enhanced-metabolism resistance (EMR) – which is the major mechanism of resistance to Atlantis in UK black-grass – will have improved control with Hamlet. Hamlet contains diflufenican, as does Liberator so care should be taken when choosing any additional partner products to not apply excessive amounts of diflufenican. A programme of 0.6-litres/ha Liberator followed by 1.5-litres/ha Hamlet delivers 135g/ha diflufenican. Because of the diflufenican in Hamlet, it is not advisable to use the full label rate, as required for the control of difficult grass weeds, once rapid spring growth has started due to the risk of crop damage. Care should also be taken with particular following crops; winter and spring oilseed rape and sugar beet all require ploughing or cultivation to 15cm after the use of 1.5-litres/ ha Hamlet the previous season. Winter and spring cereals do not require cultivation for establishment following the use of Hamlet, advises Bayer. Don’t overlook application technique is the final message from Bayer. Hamlet should be applied with the adjuvant biopower in a spray volume of 100–300-litres/ha as a fine–medium spray. ■

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