Farmers should get ready to tackle docks

Farmers that did not get round to sorting out weeds before grazing or silage cuts still have time to deal with them.

However, spraying now in very dry conditions is not the right time to tackle perennial weeds, says David Roberts, grassland agronomist at Dow AgroSciences. He advises they are mown down before spraying the regrowth in three to four weeks’ time, from mid-August through to September.

“This means the leaves will be at the ideal stage for maximum uptake of the herbicide and translocation to the root system,” adds Mr Roberts.

Farmers walking their fields now will easily be able to identify the worst dock and thistle affected areas before spraying as dry conditions have slowed down grass growth, but the deeper-rooted perennial weeds are still reaching water and thriving, says Mr Roberts.

Want to learn more? Why not take our Grassland Academy test and earn valuable CPD points

“The rapid start to the grass growing season caught many farmers out and they missed the opportunity to spray the weeds before first-cut.

“A lot of land was left untreated, which is why there are so many about now,” he says.

“Doing a really good job on docks and thistles this year will reduce the need to spray again next spring, helping manage the workload at a busy time of year.”

Farmers that top weeds will only ever get temporary relief as the roots remain intact, warns Mr Roberts. Those treating fields with products based on old chemistry or using a poor application technique will also have limited success, he adds.