Skirmish hits pea weeds

PEA GROWERS can use an “old” broad-leaved weed control product this spring for the first time in a number of years following the re-introduction of the pea herbicide, Skirmish (terbuthylazine + isoxaben) from Syngenta.

Approved for use pre or post-emergence on all varieties of vining and combining peas, it gives growers an additional option as some pea herbicides are withdrawn in the coming seasons after the EU review, including simazine-based herbicides.

Pre-emergence, Skirmish controls germinating broad-leaved weed seedlings to minimise competition with establishing pea crops, says Syngenta vegetable crops manager Bruce McKenzie. “It also provides good residual activity to control successive flushes.”

A key strength is its flexibility to use either pre- or post-emergence, says PGRO’s senior technical officer Jim Scrimshaw. “Tank-mixing early post-em with bentazone will increase efficacy of key weeds including mayweed, black bindweed and volunteer oilseed rape. As a standalone product it can be a bit weak on polygonum weeds.”

Timing is critical to get the best from the product, suggests UAP technical director Chris Bean. “Preferably it needs to be pre-em of any weeds, or you have to mix it with the correct partner.”

However, both Mr Scrimshaw and Mr Bean agree Skirmish is a useful addition. “It will be quite useful considering we’re losing stalwarts from the past 20 years, and although technically many of those products can be used up until 2007, there is no guarantee they will be manufactured up to that date,” says Mr Scrimshaw.

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