Tolerant rape crops warning
HERBICIDE tolerant rape and beet crops offer significant advantages to UK farmers, justifying their adoption. But be aware of the crop management implications, warns independent adviser Mike May of IACR Brooms Barn.
"We have to assume we will get herbicide tolerant volunteers, and need to develop management strategies accordingly," he says. Longer-term cropping plans will be required and rotational flexibility could suffer.
If herbicide tolerant rape and beet are grown in the same rotation, ensure they tolerate different products to avoid volunteer problems, advises Mr May.
Preventing seed return will also be more important. Conventional chemistry should target potential problems in other parts of the rotation. Gene escape is a real risk, but one which growers can control, Mr May maintains.
For example, removing weed beet and bolters from herbicide tolerant crops before pollen release rather than before seed shed, will prevent crossing with weeds, he notes. *