A new cereal herbicide has been launched for this spring that offers control of a range of broadleaved weeds and greater flexibility in application timing.


Spitfire, a new product from Dow AgroSciences, contains the same active ingredients – florasulam and fluroxypyr – as Dow’s other post-emergence herbicide Starane XL. However, it has double the amount of florasulam at 5g per litre, to offer greater activity in cooler and fluctuating temperatures, Dow agronomy leader Stuart Jackson says.

“The combination of florasulam and fluroxpyr in Spitfire gives you a wider spectrum of control of broadleaved weeds,” he explains.

“Spitfire is extremely flexible and it can be used early or late in the season, depending on when the grower chooses to use it. It is as robust as using Boxer (florasulam) in the early season and just as effective as using Starane 2 (fluroxypyr) later, typically from mid-April onwards, plus it offers a wider spectrum of broadleaved weeds.”

Spitfire’s spectrum of control includes cleavers, charlock, knotgrass, mayweeds, volunteer rape and beans, bindweed, chickweed, poppies, and other economically damaging weeds. It can be applied when weeds are growing from GS13 in all main cereal crops, as well as winter rye and triticale, but not durum wheat, says Mr Jackson.

Spitfire has a wide window of application, from autumn through to late spring at a rate of 1 litre/ha.

It can be used up to GS45 in winter wheat and winter barley, GS39 in spring wheat and barley and GS31 in winter and spring oats, winter rye and triticale.

It is compatible with a range of fungicides and can be applied in a tank mix or in sequence with most grassweed herbicides, including Broadway Star (pyroxsulam + florasulam), Atlantis (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron) and other mesosulfuron-based products.

Neil Donkin, a Countrywide Farmers agronomist in Gloucestershire, says: “Spitfire’s target is predominantly cleaver control, but its real beauty is it is a broad spectrum product. If growers have a bad cleaver problem they will start the season with some Boxer and maybe add it to Atlantis for blackgrass control, and apply Starane in the spring.

“But Spitfire enables you to use one product rather than two. It could prove a useful ready-made mix product, but its appeal will depend on how carefully it is priced in the market place – if it’s too expensive, then growers will not use it.”

North Yorkshire AICC agronomist Patrick Stephenson says: “A lot of growers have had a fairly robust programme coming into the autumn with Atlantis and Liberator (flufenacet + diflufenican), so in the spring you are not looking for a big spend.

“Spitfire will complement Broadway Star, but it has gone into a crowded market place and it has to be priced accordingly,” Mr Stephenson says.

Dow marketing specialist James Knight says Spitfire will be supplied in liquid form in 5 litre (5ha) PET packs, with a suggested price of about £22-23/litre.


Look out for the new generation of Crops. Eight digital editions of Crops are being created this year to complement the printed magazine.

Each digital edition will contain four unique interactive pages of exclusive content. These interactive sections will focus on a key topic, giving readers new information and a new experience. A product guide to weeds will allow you to search and select the best product for your target weed, expert advice on video and guidance on managing blackgrass resistance.