Press Release •  15/02/2024

Arable farmers need to rethink herbicide strategies following 2024’s wet start

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With some fields still under water following widespread flooding in January, farmers will need a robust herbicide plan in place as they battle to catch up this spring.

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 Corteva Agriscience’s Cereal Herbicides Category Manager Alister McRobbie. “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 either under water or 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.

It gives excellent control of brome speciesryegrasswild oats and a range of broad-leaved weeds in winter wheat and also has approval for use in spring wheat.

“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 grass seeds as they are germinating, before they get too big,” Alister explains.

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. 

Winter wheat in February
Winter wheat in February

Useful information

Media Contact: Ben Pike
Tel: 01327 438617 / 07832168560

Corteva technical hotline:
Tel: 01462 457272

Broadway Star product page
Zypar product page
Pixxaro product page


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