Single solution will ease weed control headache

A single product that can be used in both wheat and barley to control ryegrass and wild oats – even resistant populations – is no longer an unobtainable dream, according to manufacturer Syngenta.


“Leading wild oat and ryegrass herbicides in wheat, such as Topik, Cheetah and Atlantis are not safe to use in barley so most growers will be using different products in each crop,” says the firm’s Rod Burke.


But newly launched Axial (pinoxaden), from a new “den” class of chemistry, will have recommendations to control both weeds in wheat and barley.


“That flexibility should make life much simpler for growers.”


Using a single product will help where growers are under pressure from increased workloads as farms expand or operate with fewer staff, he explains.


In addition, applying Axial will not prevent spraying a sulfonylurea herbicide, if necessary, later in the spring or restrict choice of following crops, unlike some sulfonylurea competitor products.


“You won’t be building your rotation around what product you’re going to use for grassweed control.


You can plan based on maximising profit.”


With no need to use so many products, record keeping, storing and packaging waste will all be minimised, he stresses.


And, according to his colleague, Jason Tatnell, Axial will also beat its major competitors on efficacy.


“It will set a new standard for wild oat and ryegrass control,” he claims.


In 16 Syngenta and independent trials last spring 0.3 litres/ha of Axial, the full rate for wild oat control gave 99% control, 7% above that from a leading ‘fop’ herbicide.


“Just five wild oats per square metre can cause a 30/ha reduction in income.”


Likewise against ryegrass full label rate 0.45 litres/ha Axial gave 15% better control than a “fop” and 7% better control than iodosulfuron (Hussar), he says.


“It really stands out on ryegrass.”


The product could help growers resolve grassweed headaches next spring, he believes.


“There is a need to control blackgrass in the autumn to avoid a yield penalty, but as a result there could be certain wild oat and ryegrass requirements in the spring.”


Axial itself isn’t so strong on blackgrass, he admits.


“It would be fair to say there are better options in wheat.”


But the product will have a barley blackgrass control recommendation.


“In barley compared with what is available currently it pushes blackgrass control forward, although it should only be used as part of a programme.”


As a near relative of the “fop” and “dim” family, cross-resistance in “dens” is an obvious concern.


However, its resistance profile isn’t the same, Mr Tatnell says.


“So far we haven’t found any wild oats with resistance to Axial.


It will overcome “fop” type target site resistance,” he claims.


The product will be available in the New Year, with a price that will be “competitive”.


mike.abram@rbi.co.uk