A mild winter, forward crops and good conditions for sprayers to travel have conspired to offer many arable farmers an early opportunity to get ahead with weed control.
Corteva Agriscience says crop protection products targeted at eliminating key problem weeds can be applied earlier than usual where active growth can be identified.
However, growers are advised to ensure programmes cover the full spectrum of weeds.
“Those who have used cinmethylin-based products for the first-time last autumn will have been predominantly aiming to control blackgrass and ryegrass,” says Alister McRobbie, Cereal Herbicides Category Manager for Corteva.
“But it is important to look out for the other key weeds which may already be present or will emerge in the coming days and weeks. Cinmethylin will not control every weed that grows in amongst the crop.”
Met Office data shows temperatures in September, October and November – the key months for winter cereal drilling and emergence – were above the long-term average.
However, December and January saw cold snaps, frosts and localised flooding which has checked some crops.
“The net result is that most winter cereals went in the ground in favourable conditions and emerged well,” Alister says.
“Farmers who avoided the worst of the recent heavy rain and flooding will be pretty happy with how their fields are looking.”
Autumn residuals had the optimum environment to do a good job, but a spring clean of weeds will still be necessary.
Broadway® Star is a mainstay of spring weed control programmes and will be among the first products applied if an early opportunity to get sprayers working presents itself in February.
“Early applications for sterile brome control will benefit from tank mixing with pendimethalin to provide some residual control where there is potential for further germination,” Alister added.
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.
The product label species a maximum rate of 265g/ha and a single application per crop. It can be used on crops between growth stages 11-32 inclusive.
Significant populations of grassweeds, including ryegrass and brome, can threaten winter wheat yields. Spring applications of a contact graminicide, such as Broadway Star from Corteva Agriscience, can clear problem weeds, allowing crops to grow away in the spring. In this video, Alister McRobbie, Corteva’s Cereal Herbicide Category Manager, explains how to get the most out of the product.