In the run-up to sowing spring cereals, by planning ahead it is possible to fine-tune inputs, reduce growing costs and avoid potential problems further down the line. Traditionally growers often reach for contact-acting postemergence herbicides for spring cereals. However, by considering the use of pre-emergence residuals, weed control can often be improved whilst at the same time reducing the total spent on sprays.
Getting off to a good start
A clean start is essential for a successful crop. Competition from weeds can result in establishment issues, lodging and reduced yields. There is often the temptation to apply herbicides in tank mixture with the first fungicide to save a pass with the sprayer, but this timing is often too late to provide adequate control because the weeds may have grown too large by then. By adopting a preemergence approach the herbicides are in place to control the weeds as soon as they germinate.
For many livestock farmers, an essential part of the rotation is to follow a barley crop with stubble turnips or other roots for grazing. The following crop restrictions associated with the use of a wide range of herbicides are often overlooked. Many pre and post-emergence products applied to the cereal crop can badly affect the following root crop, with the symptoms varying from a general lack of vigour, right through to complete crop failure. It is worth remembering when planning ahead that there are some residual herbicides available which can be applied pre-emergence, which provide cost-effective, broad-spectrum weed control and which have no following crop restrictions. One such product is Pico Pro containing picolinafen and pendimethalin.
If growers are considering the use of pre-emergence herbicides, they could also consider purchasing the products along with the seed, so everything is ready for spring drilling when the time comes.
New post-em products
It is worth noting that there are new post-emergence products available which have been recently brought to the market, which don't share the same following crop restrictions as the widely used SU chemistry. These introductions from Dow include a brand new active ingredient which provides a useful additional option for spring weed control. Zypar and Pixxaro are contacted acting post treatments which offer control of broad-leaved weeds but don't restrict the choice of subsequent crops in the rotation.
If you're unsure which treatments should be applied to your crop to fit in with the farm rotation, the Wynnstay arable specialists can offer advice on the options available. It can be difficult to make early decisions on herbicide inputs that you may require months down the line, but by considering options beforehand and planning ahead, you will benefit.