12 January 1996

Care with chlormequat

ANXIOUS growers tempted to treat forward winter cereal crops with chlormequat growth regulator to slow development should wait until stem extension or they will do more harm than good, says BASF.

Technical services manager Lance Middleton warns that instead of slowing growth, the chemical encourages tillering if applied early. Although that can help backward crops, it will increase risk of lodging in more forward ones come spring.

Chlormequat only shortens plants once stem extension has started, so growers should delay spraying proud crops until then, he explains. That could be the end of February for barley and early March for wheats, he believes. &#42