20 March 1998

Second chance to beat em

CATCHING cleavers that escape autumn/winter control is no problem for one Yorks grower thanks to a new product offered by selected distributors this spring.

Cleavers is the main weed problem for Malcolm Foster, who grows 93ha (230 acres) of arable crops alongside a dairy unit at Grange Farm, Bulmer, N Yorks.

With no blackgrass or sterile brome to worry about, cleavers is the main concern, particularly on heavier soils and in cereals following potatoes or winter beans.

Autumn pre-emergence herbicides have not proved particularly effective for cleavers control. This February provided a chance to inspect fields and get an early picture of the presence of cleavers, says Peter Warwick, Profarma crop specialist for North and East Yorkshire.

"Where there are high levels of cleavers, they need taking out early," he advises.

For cereals drilled late after potatoes and where an autumn residual was not applied, Mr Warwick recommends an early-Feb tank mix of Eagle (amidosulfuron) and Addition (DFF + IPU) to hit cleavers and other broad-leaved weeds.

Traditional solution

Starane (fluroxypyr) has been the traditional follow up. But it needs constant, rising temperatures to be most effective. In the north of England that invariably means April or May, which is too late, says Mr Warwick.

Dow AgroSciences EF1166 herbicide, trialled over the past three years, offers the chance of a second attack on cleavers in March or early April. Applied before second node (GS32) it is an ideal tank mix partner with growth regulators, says Mr Warwick.

Active ingredients are 10g/litre metosulam and 100g/litre fluroxypyr, giving good control of cleavers, chickweed, shepherds purse, volunteer rape and volunteer beans.

Rate can be tailored to weed profile or the scale of problem in a particular field. The full 1 litre/ha rate is likely to cost £28/ha (£11/acre) this year, says Mr Warwick. For non-cleaver situations rates can be almost halved, adds product manager Bill Butler. &#42

Niche product EF1166 has given Yorks farmer Malcolm Foster (left) and Profarma adviser Peter Warwick an extra weapon to combat cleavers (inset).