CEREAL GROWERS have a new pre-emergence tool to tackle a range of grass and broad-leaved weeds.

Approval for Liberator, from Bayer CropScience, was announced at Cereals 2004.

The new chemistry in the product is flufenacet, the pendimethalin partner in Crystal, and a good tool in the blackgrass battle due to its different mode of action.

This has been partnered with farmers‘ friend and broad spectrum broad-leaved weed and meadow grass killer diflufenican – its first new lease of life since Hoechst merged with Rhone Poulenc in 1999.

Originally the bedrock of Rhone Poulenc‘s herbicide portfolio, mergers and acquisitions has left the active overlooked in new products, despite its popularity.

The result is a product that won‘t prove the best against blackgrass, but will offer farmers a useful extra tool, according to Farmcare‘s Bob Bulmer.

“It will give farmers the opportunity to change the chemistry and introduce a bit of DFF back into the rotation,” he said.

“But it may be best to wait for a while until the industry works out how best to use it.”

Bayer promotes Liberator as “ideally suited” to work in weed management programmes with post-em Atlantis (mesosulfuron-methyl + iodosulfuron-methyl-sodium).

It tackles blackgrass and annual meadowgrass as well as broad-leaved weeds such as mayweed, chickweed, pansy, speedwell, groundsel, forget-me-not, dead-nettle and cleavers, said product manager Tim Holt.

At its standard rate of 0.6l/ha it scores environmental points over Crystal, which is used at 4l/ha, added Bayer‘s Neil Waddingham.

Liberator can be used pre-em or early post-em in both winter wheat and barley up to growth stage 23 or 31 December.

Price will be “competitive”, said Bayer.