Keeping pesticides in the ﬁeld Growers are being urged not to be complacent when it comes to metazachlor and quinmerac use this autumn, and to adopt good soil management practices to keep these active ingredients on the market. Representative of the Metazachlor Matters stewardship initiative Rob Gladwin (left) stresses the importance of adopting ICM techniques, given the issue of metazachlor and quinmerac reaching raw surface waters and at times exceeding drinking water levels. He says: “Unfortunately there’s no silver bullet when it comes to weed management, and significant weed problems won’t disappear overnight. As a result, there’ll always be a place for residual herbicides, but there are a limited number of alternative control products available. “Using a well-planned ICM strategy can lessen the need for unplanned herbicide use, and encourage activities on the farm that support the principles of the stewardship initiative. “Encouraging growers to apply metazachlor and quinmerac sensibly will help towards keeping these key actives on the marketplace for seasons to come. “That means using the correct dose rates of 750 and 250g/ha respectively for winter oilseed rape, and applying well in advance of the 1st October deadline for drained land in drinking water safeguard zones.” Independent adviser at Soil First Farming Steve Townsend (right) adds that what is good for soils is good for stewardship. He says: “The biggest influence we have on soil health is the provision of organic matter in the many forms of carbon it provides. Improving carbon levels can support crop establishment, particularly oilseed rape, by allowing the crop to grow fast and compete with weeds. “Good soil management can result in a much better tilth and seedbed conditions in the short term, allowing for improvements in residual chemical activity. And in the long term, better soil structure
facilitates soil stability and water infiltration which both help to keep the pesticide in the field. “Increased carbon levels can be achieved through implementation of ICM practices, such as reducing tillage or ploughing depth, which reduces carbon oxidation losses from the soil. “Organic matter, or carbon, in the soil should be considered like a bank account. You have to put more carbon in each year than you take out if you want to see your soil health and structure improve,” he says. ■
Metazachlor Matters guidelines 2017 • Do not apply metazachlor or quinmerac after 1 October to drained • • • • •
land in drinking water safeguard zones Applications of metazachlor and quinmerac should be avoided after 1 October on drained land Applications of metazachlor and quinmerac to drained land outside of safeguard zones can continue until 15 October if soil/ seedbed is favourable and drains are not flowing There are no timing restrictions for metazachlor or quinmerac on land that is not drained The maximum dose rate for metazachlor in winter oilseed rape is 750g/ha The maximum dose rate for quinmerac in winter oilseed rape is 250g/ha
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