26 February 1999

Herbicides:Back to drawing board

SODDEN conditions last autumn cut winter drilling and prevented any spraying for Co Down farmer Graham Furey. Herbicide plans have had to be re-written.

"Normally we would use ipu plus trifluralin in the autumn, but weeds are too big for trifluralin now," he says.

On the wheats half-rate Ally (metsulfuron-methyl) plus 2-2.5 litres/ha of ipu will be mixed with 0.75 litres/ha Bettaquat (chlormequat). Annual meadow grass, dead-nettles and speedwells are the main targets of the mix, which works out at about £23/ha (£9.30/acre). Where cleavers are a problem Eagle (amidosulfuron) may be added, too.

"We usually do the headlands with either Eagle now or Starane later on. The chlormequat should help get crops rooting and tillering and the Bettaquat formulation includes a safener."

Barley will get 4 litres/ha of Banco (ipu + bifenox) plus 0.5 litres/ha Barleyquat (chlormequat), taking out cleavers and grassweeds in one hit, he hopes.

Both mixes will be applied as soon as conditions allow, with 0.25 litres/ha of Sprayfast to help the chemicals stick.

"The ipu is in store already and the rest is ordered. Unused trifluralin will go pre-em on turnips later on."

First nitrogen will be applied early in March and thin crops will be rolled, too, to try to help them tiller out.