East Anglia: Farmers weeds headache

WEED problems are worse, or much worse, than last year, according to a farmers’ poll.

A straw poll of farmers in England showed six out of ten feel the success of their weed control has been either worse or much worse this year compared to last year, with only four out of ten rating it as the same or better.

The survey was conducted by Syngenta which asked farmers from Yorkshire to Somerset and Shropshire to East Anglia. Almost six out of ten rated black-grass as their number one problem grass weed.

Disappointing weed control isn’t that surprising after the dry autumn, said Syngenta.

Cereal campaign manager, Melanie Wardle said:“This made black-grass control, in particular, an even bigger challenge than normal.

“Learning from this season, perhaps one of the main things it highlights is the increasing need for exploring even more robust cultural and chemical methods.

“Such an approach might include effective use of cultivations, stale seedbeds and delayed drilling, but also maybe more novel approaches, such as competitive cereal varieties sown at competitive seed rates, and tank mixing or stacking different pre-emergence herbicides together. In trials, we’ve seen a higher level of black-grass control from using Defy with a flufenacet-based treatment than from a flufenacet-based treatment alone.”

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Among other weeds highlighted in the poll, brome species were also mentioned among respondents’ top three problem grass weeds, said Mrs Wardle.

Meanwhile among broad-leaved species, half of respondent rated cleavers as their number one problem broad-leaved weed, she says, with other weeds such as cranesbill and bindweed also named.

“Usefully, Defy also provides residual activity against cleavers and cranesbill,” she said.