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Never underestimate the power of cultural control for weeds

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BASF offers renowned and innovative fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and growth regulators for agriculture. Our products and services help farmers increase their yields and optimize the quality of their products.

The old adage that less is more is certainly true of managing resistant blackgrass and ryegrass populations.

“Every farmer who battles with resistance is well-versed in keeping weed populations to a minimum, knowing that this is at the heart of good levels of control,” says Steve Dennis, Head of Business Development for BASF.

“Whether the weed population is just beginning to show signs of resistance, or established as a severe problem, it’s a numbers game,” he says.

At the heart of good control is reducing seed return by maintaining a diligent “keep it clean” approach – of yard, machinery and fields, he adds.

“It is all about the maths, each plant/sqm can cost 1% yield so we need to reduce the weed burden for profit, but if we only remove the sensitive individuals, we allow the resistant individuals to grow without competition and have a huge seed return.”

Integrated Pest Management

What has to be central to keeping ahead of these populations is cultural control – in particular, an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach he notes.

“IPM strategies are very individual to farms – Andrew Ward, for example was one of the first farmers to advocate a ‘no tolerance’ IPM approach, which included block desiccation of problem weed areas in crops, a switch to spring barley instead of wheat and the hand rogueing of his extremely resistant black-grass with gangs of labour.

At the time his approach was seen by some as extreme, but if you fast forward to now, he’s got on top of the problem, dominantly by using his version of IPM.”

The use of chemistry is still central to good levels of control. “However, we need to be mindful of the chemistry that we have lost – and could still lose – and protect what we have and what’s coming, for example, Luximo®,” he adds.

He points out the folly of chemical reliance, which is likely to remove more of the sensitive weeds, giving space for resistant weeds to tiller and return more seed to impact future growing seasons.

“Crystal® is a very good example of how to use and preserve herbicidal performance, it’s been on the market for 20 years and has always been used as part of a programme.

Looking ahead to Luximo® becoming available, we need to heed what we have learnt and adopt the basic principles from the start – maintain dose rates, apply in the right conditions and use in programmes with complementary modes of action products.”

For a chance to see Luximo® in the field, as well as accessing insights from the experts at NIAB, you can pre-register for ‘Hardwick Live’.

The online-only event will give you access to virtual trials from the black-grass centre, and the webinar will provide an opportunity to ask the experts your questions.

Pre-register here on the Real Results virtual Farm, in the events zone.

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Crystal® contains pendimethalin and flufenacet. Luximo® contains cinmethylin. Crystal® and Luximo® are registered Trademarks of BASF. © BASF 2021. All rights reserved.