1 December 1995

Dutch recommend harrowing

BY REVERTING to band spraying and hoeing, beet growers could cut herbicide inputs by 50% to 60%. Dutch research shows harrowing could be a worthwhile alternative to herbicide to clear weeds from within rows.

Low-dose cuts

Between 1993 and 1995 Jan Wevers of the Institute of Sugar Beet Research at Bergen op Zoom cut the number of low dose herbicide treatments by replacing some by mechanical weeding.

"If harrowing is done at the 4-6 true leaf stage of the beet onwards it hardly affects plant numbers," he said.

"In trials, not more than 5%, but mostly less than 3%, were lost. Most of those pulled out of the soil were small with poor root systems, possibly explaining why yield was not affected by harrowing."