Late spring brings weed challenge in sugar beet

Weed control is set to be a challenge for late-drilled beet crops, tackling stubborn weeds without hitting crops.

Many crops did not receive a post-emergence herbicide and broad-leaved weeds are becoming established.

“Weeds will have hardened up by now and will, therefore, be harder to hit,” says independent sugar beet expert Mike May.

See also: What the 5 new sugar beet varieties offer

The delayed season means farmers are going later, applying herbicides at a time of higher temperatures and big temperature fluctuations. Therefore, crop safety will need be a key consideration.

“Weeds are waxing up and you will need to use products that cut through the wax to help control weeds.”

But there is a danger of causing damage to the small beet plants with harsher tank mixes.

Bayer root crop campaign manager Edward Hagues advises care in what products to select, with the focus on formulations that are kinder on the crop.

Mr May says modern products tend to be safer and do not need an adjuvant which can cause problems, especially when temperatures are high. He points to Betanal MaxxPro (desmedipham + ethofumesate + lenacil + phenmedipham) as an example of a safer product to crops.

Another tip from Mr May is to consider splitting the application and going back in four to five days to help stop scorch.

Also avoid spraying in high intensity sunlight: early mornings or early evenings are best. “When temperatures get greater than 20-22C, then you need to worry.”

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