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Stackyard News Jul 06

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Arable Units Face Acute Autumn Weed Control Dilemma

Arable units across the country are facing an acute dilemma in their autumn weed control programmes as a direct result of increasing time pressures, reveals a national survey of growers responsible for nearly 125,000 ha of UK cropping.

crop spraying

Some 99% of the 200 growers involved in the survey conducted by Monsanto over the past month consider it vital to achieve the best possible seedbed weed control. Yet 87% say they have less time than ever between harvesting and autumn drilling, and 86% are finding the summer and autumn weather more variable than it used to be.

“While the overwhelming majority of growers say they have less room for error in today’s seedbed preparation, more than eight out of every 10 report they are often having to spray herbicides under less than ideal conditions,” explains survey co-ordinator, Stephen Beal. “This presents them with a serious dilemma.”

Not surprisingly under these circumstances, 99% of the growers questioned stress they need herbicides they can rely on to perform even if conditions are less than ideal.

In particular, they identify their most important non-selective herbicide needs as the most reliable kill of all weed species; the greatest environmental and operator safety; the best performance in hot, cold and dry weather; and the shortest interval between cultivation and drilling. Interestingly, the cheapest price only rates seventh on the list
of nine key selection criteria.

“With such acute pressures of time and so little room for error in modern arable systems, non-selective herbicides clearly have to work harder than ever,” notes Mr Beal. “So it’s hardly surprising that growers rate performance under challenging conditions as markedly more important than cost these days. After all, the cost of getting seedbed weed control wrong is invariably far greater – in higher in-crop herbicide costs and crop yield losses, not to mention increasing resistance problems.

“This where modern Roundup formulations based on the latest patented surfactant technology really score. They’re rainfast in just one hour on annual weeds and common couch compared with 6 hours (preferably 24) with ordinary glyphosates. They’re proven to give 20% better control of weeds under hot, dry conditions and 10% better across-the-board control of tough perennials. And they allow cultivation after only six hours compared to a minimum of 24 hours.

“Where reliable seedbed weed control is the key, Roundup undoubtedly gives growers the vital security they need in today’s high pressure systems,” he insists. “A fact they are clearly appreciating, with over 70% of all survey respondents and more than 90% of those naming a product, identifying Roundup as the herbicide that best meet their modern non-selective weed control needs.”

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