Weed controls showcased at open days

Herbicide suppliers used breeders' open days in Lincolnshire last month to demonstrate the effectiveness of the few weed-control products left to brassica growers, as well as to preview new materials that are on the horizon.

Three products trialled under code numbers by distributor UAP at Elsoms Seeds' Spalding site looked useful, according to UAP field sales manager Dan Hayes. One, applied post-emergence, had knocked out redshank, the site's dominant weed that used to be controlled by trifluralin before it was withdrawn last year.

Another looked to be an alternative to metazachlor, the use of which is now restricted. Dual Gold (S-metolachlor), new to the cereals sector and which already holds a SOLA on outdoor beans, was shown controlling fat hen when applied pre-emergence, but not redshank.

At Rijk Zwaan's demonstration ground, BASF showed the effectiveness of BUK 9900, which the company hopes to make available to brassica and allium growers in a couple of years. Applied preor post-emergence, it had taken out the weeds left behind by pendimethalin, said BASF field vegetable product manager Robert Storer.

BASF's new formulation of pendimethalin, Stomp Aqua, targets the same weed spectrum as Stomp 400 SC, but has less of a crop check. Stomp Aqua has on-label approval for some brassicas pre-transplanting and off-label approval for post-transplanting use on cabbage only.

"It's easier to handle, being the lowest-staining pendimethalin on the market," said Storer. "It takes less time to wash out packs and spraying equipment."

The demonstration put on by Makhteshim-Agan UK at Sakata's trial ground looked at how to get the best out of the brassica herbicides the company still had. A pre-transplanting application of Cinder (pendimethalin) had controlled most weed species on the site, excluding some groundsel and shepherd's purse.

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