Don’t pack away sprayer yet

DIFFICULT SPRAYING conditions over the autumn have disrupted many spray programmes, but growers should not be tempted to put away the sprayer just yet, experts have advised.

Wet autumn conditions meant many crops went into “compromised” seedbeds, resulting in uneven drilling depth and less effective pre-emergence weed control, said Velcourt‘s Farms Director, Douglas Inglis.

“It‘s only really in the last two weeks that some catching up has been done,” he said.

Many growers using a blackgrass control programme based on a pre-em herbicide, an autumn holding spray and a further application in the spring, have been unable to stick to this, said Syngenta‘s Jason Tatnell.

“People haven‘t had the opportunity to use all of these, therefore there is a lot more variation [in blackgrass development] out there this season.

“Avoid the temptation to pack the sprayer up now. Don‘t miss the opportunity when you get one,” he said.

But where growers managed to get pre-emergence applications right, good weed control has been achieved, added Brian Redrup, from Velcourt.

This probably applies to around 25-30% of the arable area, he estimated, adding “growers need to think on their feet” this season, due to the difficulties already experienced.

Well established blackgrass needs to be dealt with, he said, but warned growers that correct timing was crucial.

“Weeds need to be actively growing to get best results from any herbicide application,” he said.