CLEAVERS is the most damaging broad-leaved weed in cereal crops, suppressing 1,000 grain weight and reducing yields by as much as 50%, says BASF, which has just launched a new product Lotus to control this pernicious weed. Work at IACR Rothamsted shows cleavers affect crop growth later than weeds such as blackgrass and chickweed. They have a prolonged period of emergence, with a larger flush in the autumn and a smaller one in the spring. BASF claims Lotus, based on a new active ingredient cinidon ethyl, gives farmers the flexibility to spray all through the season, even in low temperatures when the efficacy of other products on the market is low. It will be available to farmers from January 1999 from selected distributors.
DEBATE continues as the Government considers the Ecotec study on the implications of a tax on pesticides. Martin Savage, of the British Agrochemicals Association, says: "The industry is already doing a great deal to make crop protection more effective by initiatives such as Integrated Crop Management. UK farmers use crop protection only where the input is economic and justified."
Claus Illing, of BASFs Central Europe division, argues that farmers use inputs responsibly, not least on the grounds of costs. "Taxes on crop protection agents and fertilisers are being demanded indiscriminately, and where taxes on inputs have been introduced, usage has not declined more than in other European countries," he says.
In the House of Lords, farming peer Lord Rotherwick said a pesticide tax would cost "about £5m to set up and perhaps £0.5m a year to collect and redistribute". In the same debate, ex-farm Minister Earl Ferrers added that "over the past 10 years the sale of the active ingredients of pesticides has decreased by about 5% year on year".
* CYMAG, used extensively throughout the UK to control rabbit populations, will from now on be marketed by Sorex, which has acquired the product from Zeneca.
* AGREVOS latest graminicide Tigress Ultra is an EW, or oil in water emulsion, of fenoxaprop-p-ethyl and diclofop-methyl, formulated for use specifically in barley to give growers greater flexibility and efficacy in control of blackgrass, wild oats and ryegrasses.
* THE ANNUAL report by the Advisory Committee on Pesticides 1997 considers a wide range of pesticide issues and active ingredients, and is available by mail order from The Publications Centre, PO Box 276, London, SW8 5DT, by telephone on 0171-873 9090, or by fax on 0171-873 8200, price £14.
* MONSANTO has lowered the price of Roundup (glyphosate) by between 16 and 22% in the USA, to boost its sales before the patent for the herbicide expires next year. At the same time, the company, whose merger talks with Cyanamids parent American Home Products collapsed in disarray, has also raised the price for some of its Roundup Ready seeds by 30%.
A Jumbo pack of Roundup Biactive has undergone successful trials in the UK. The 640-litre container supplied with 400 litres of herbicide uses a top-fitting pump, which can be either manual or electric.