Spraying winter wheat© Tim Scrivener

New herbicide Xerton has been approved for use on winter wheat crops for controlling annual meadow grass – the UK’s most widespread grassweed.

Manufactured by agrochemical company UPL, the ethofumesate-containing product can be used between growth stages 12-16, with a maximum total dose of 0.6 litre/ha.

The early timing restriction is aimed at getting the best control of annual meadow grass, with the weed at its most susceptible between growth stages 11-21.

At present, Xerton is for post-emergence application only, but UPL technical support manager Pam Chambers told Farmers Weekly that the company hopes to get pre-emergence added to the label soon to widen its use.

See also: Drain away blackgrass problems with effective land management

From work in sugar beet, ethofumesate has been shown to have useful activity on blackgrass with resistance to other herbicide groups when applied pre-emergence of both the crop and weed and in mixtures with other actives.

“Growers should not expect it [a pre-emergence approval] to be the answer to blackgrass control, but it could play a part. Cultural methods will still be vital,” said Ms Chambers.

She added that growers should also be aware that there is a restriction of 1,000g of ethofumesate active over a three-year period on the same field.

This could have implications where growers have wheat in the same rotation as other crops with ethofumesate approvals, such as sugar, fodder or red beet.

“It is an active restriction and not an individual product restriction, so you cannot switch brands to apply higher rates,” said Ms Chambers.