Late germinating weeds ‘could pose problem for region’s cereal growers’

Rob Suckling, agricultural chemicals firm Dow AgroSciences� commercial technical manager for the Eas

Rob Suckling, agricultural chemicals firm Dow AgroSciences� commercial technical manager for the East of England. - Credit: Archant

Late germinating weeds could pose a problem for East of England’s cereal growers, an expert has warned.

Rob Suckling, agricultural chemicals firm Dow AgroSciences’ commercial technical manager for the region, said farmers must continue to monitor fields for late germinating broad-leaved weeds amid a change in spring spraying strategies.

Growers have traditionally targeted yield-robbing weeds in late February and March, but with the drilling of winter cereal crops and applications of residual chemistry moving later in to the autumn to help with grassweed control, spring spray programmes are being pushed back, he said.

Weather permitting, the bulk of the region’s spring weed control will take place from mid-April through May, he predicted.

“Those who drilled winter cereal crops late and then applied residuals in good conditions seem to have kept key problem weeds at bay across the east and south east of England this season,” he said.

“But growers must not be fooled in to thinking that the job is done.

“Those residuals will have run out of steam now. As temperatures rise and the inevitable spring rain arrives there will be some late germinating weeds there.”

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Cleavers, groundsel, fool’s parsley and bur chervil are the four key problem weeds growers across East Anglia and the south-east this season.

Application timing is not the only part of growers’ weed control strategies to have changed in recent years.

“We are seeing growers move away from iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron products which are proving to be less effective at controlling blackgrass,” he said.

Another trend was the use of Broadway Star in targeting bromes and wild oats while mopping up cleavers, cranesbill and groundsel at the same time.

Growers in the region will be having their first full season with two new Dow cereal herbicides at their disposal - Pixxaro EC, which was launched last spring, and Zypar only hit the market two weeks ago.

“Feedback from those growers who used Pixxaro last year has been very good. It was used in late applications and it did a fantastic job on cleavers, chickweed and fumitory,” said Rob.

“A lot of growers are very excited by Zypar which can be applied in the autumn as well as the spring.”