11 September 1998

Pre-em herbicide technology grows

EAST Anglian cereal growers are increasingly having pre-emergence herbicides applied along with suspension fertilisers, including Avadex (tri-allate) granules.

Most autumn pre-em products are cleared for use in this way, says Steve Mackinder, fertiliser manager for Norfolk-based Crop Care. As application contractor for Omex suspension products, he expects to treat up to 4000ha (10,000 acres) with Avadex this season. Adding granules to the spray mix overcomes the need for specialist applicators which are limited to 12m (39ft) spread widths, he says. "We can operate at 24m and save a pass. It leaves farmers hands free to sow at the optimum time. They keep drilling and we sweep up behind."

"Monsanto gave it backing eight years ago," adds Omexs Andy Eccles. Avadex granules tank-mixed just before treatment remain unaffected by the suspension, he says. "Some farmers say they get better results using them like this." Ready moisture and more even distribution on cloddy seed-beds may be the explanation, he speculates.

"Seed-beds must be suitable," advises Mr Mackinder. That said, the fact that the sprayed granules tend to stick to clods rather than slip between them, may well offer better weed control, he adds. "Often we add a bit of Treflan as well which saves another pass." &#42