18 April 1997

Chlormequat savings

GROWERS should continue to make the most of cheap growth regulators, says Mr Stevens.

Applying chlormequat now could mean savings on later, more expensive treatments. Root development and reduced straw growth more than compensates for the extra tiller burden, even in dry conditions, he adds. Where lodging risk is low rates can be cut.

BASF agronomists predict unused nitrogen could trigger rapid growth in winter barley once rains return, particularly on chlormequat-treated crops which try to compensate for the chemical. Resulting weak stem extension will be prone to lodging. "Growers should anticipate bounce-back. Trials show Terpal is the most effective way to reduce the risk."

If it stays dry, Profarma agronomist Graham Edwards will do no more, having applied a GS30 treatment. If it rains, he will be ready for a surge in wheat, too. "Where lodging is likely in wheat we will go on with a Terpal-type product." With barley, Moddus (trinexapac-ethyl) at GS32 is favoured, at or near full dose on susceptible varieties. Weak malting varieties will also receive follow-up Terpal.

Mr Garstang agrees that bounce-back is a risk, but questions whether it is higher than in a normal season. &#42