Page 23


Hit brome early before it gets too big Last autumn provided good conditions for drilling, even though crops were slow to emerge and establish, according to Dow AgroSciences cereal herbicide product manager, Alex Nichols (right). “Many farmers have taken the proactive decision to increase the area of spring cereals on the farm for a number of reasons – the Three Crop Rule, overall farm profitability as well as a strategy for reducing black-grass populations,” he says. “So this spring many farms will be looking to control grass and broad-leaved weeds in winter cereals as well as controlling them in spring crops.” Dr Nichols says that most winter cereals programmes start with a large residual stack of herbicides, particularly in black-grass areas. But this year the open autumn was quite dry and has affected the efficacy of this stack. “It may not have worked quite as well as it should,” he suggests. In addition, many growers were able to continue drilling later in the autumn after potatoes, maize and sugar beet, and there are more later drilled wheats than normal. “Some growers may have been planning spring cereals but have just continued drilling winter wheat instead,” he adds. In terms of the current weed threat, grass weed populations looked relatively low in October and November, continues Dr Nichols. “Certainly we are not seeing as much grass weed germination as we did last year. Market data suggests growers have moved away from Atlantis (mesosulfuron + iodosulfuron) because of resistance and now many are considering Broadway Star (florasulam +

pyroxsulam) for wild oats (including ACCase resistant oats) and brome control. “In min-till situations more brome is being seen and Broadway Star will do a great job, providing the weed doesn’t get too big. I would say no more than four tillers which usually means an early March application window. If you have five to six tillers the chemical tends to be diluted too far. Broadway Star has a good fit on later drilled wheats which tend to be on the lighter land,” he advises.

Volunteer beans In addition to brome, volunteer beans can be extremely competitive in winter cereals too and an application of Spitfire (florasulam + fluroxypyr) at 0.75-litres/ha around the T0 timing, in mix with a fungicide, will get rid of these weeds as well as others such as groundsel. Later on around T1 timing, if not taken out before, cleavers are the priority for which Starane 2 (fluroxypyr) has always been a major player, he says. “This year if you have other difficult weeds such as crane’s-bill, fat hen and fumitory, our new herbicide Pixxaro EC – containing the new active Arylex plus fluroxypyr – will do an excellent job on weeds. Arylex is a brand new synthetic auxin with many benefits over other broadleaved weed herbicides including a wide window of application, reliable control in all weather conditions, fast speed of action and flexibility for cultivations and following crops. Later in the season if you just have cleavers, you can use a lower dose rate of Pixxaro EC (0.25-litres/ha) which is more effective and reliable

p Bromes are not just confined to the headland. Look out for brome and treat before it gets too big, says Dr Alex Nichols. uPoppy and other weeds in winter barley. This should be treated with 0.5-litres/ha of Pixxaro in early spring,

than fluroxypyr alone,” says Dr Nichols. Moving to spring cereals, he says that there are more newcomers to growing spring cereals this year. “Spring cereals have become an important strategic crop for grass weed management; diluting the black-grass populations through using glyphosate in stale seedbeds. Drilling can start in January if you have a large acreage to drill, but you don’t necessarily benefit yield from drilling early and you may miss out on effective glyphosate use.” Weed control in spring cereals is now usually based on a flufenacet residual such as Liberator (DFF + flufenacet) or Crystal (pendimethalin + flufenacet) focused on grassweeds, followed by a post-em which can be a straight Starane or Pixxaro, or indeed Spitfire, depending on the broad-leaved weed species

spectrum, notes Dr Nichols. After the residual, the broad-leaved weeds that can come through are cleavers, mayweeds and brassica-type weeds; a spectrum well suited to Spitfire which should be applied around mid-tillering of the crop. Dow AgroSciences’ Stuart Jackson concludes: “In other situations poppy, fumitory, fat hen and crane’s-bill can come through and, here, Pixxaro provides outstanding control. Both Spitfire and Pixxaro have wide windows of application, can be mixed with other inputs such as fungicides, PGRs, trace elements and contact graminicides, and can be followed by most major crops without the need for any specific cultivations.” ■

Double disc drill works wonders Results from joint trials between Lemken and Agrii are reinforcing the message that minimising soil disturbance at drilling so as not to bring viable seed to the surface is a key measure in the control of blackgrass in cereal crops. The trails at Stow Longa near Huntingdon incorporated differing cultivation strategies and cover crops to determine their potential blackgrass suppressant value. Cover crops were sown immediately after harvest to give them enough time to establish, using a tine cultivator with seeding box

fitted. Some plots were sprayed off with glyphosate before drilling in the autumn while others were left to overwinter. The autumn-sown winter wheat wasn’t sown until late October but the heavy nature of the soil meant that even in the late autumn it was favourable for drilling. The cover crop had managed to suppress black-grass in some situations, retained nutrients and, depending on the particular crop, also improved soil structure. One result that stood out, however, was that the use of

a Lemken 3m Solitair 8 drill consistently produced a lower blackgrass head count than that of a striptill drill. On average the black-grass head count was more than 46 per cent lower on the plots drilled with the Solitair. This drill was put to work with the solo mounting kit so that it could be used without any form of precultivation. The double-disc coulter also had a double spring kit fitted to ensure the disc would penetrate the soil and cut through surface trash. Lemken Solitair drills offer great flexibility since they can be used

solo, either mounted or trailed, or in combination with compact disc harrows or tine cultivators. Alternatively they can be fully mounted with a power harrow, the company points out. ■

February 2017 23

1-35 ROP feb.indd 23

21/01/2017 21:57

Farmers Guide February 2017  
Farmers Guide February 2017  

Farmers Guide Magazine February 2017 Issue