2013-05-10   facebook twitter rss
Plan To Spray Docks In Silage Fields In Next Week or Two

Farmers wanting to spray weedy silage leys before first cut, will need to do so in the next week to ten days - but getting the exact timing right is going to be tricky.

“This year it is difficult to predict the date of first cut harvest because of the late spring and slow grass growth,” says David Roberts, grassland agronomist for Dow AgroSciences.

Spray docks to increase grass yields

Spray docks to increase grass yields

“Organisations like the British Grassland Society are advocating cutting at near normal dates - possibly taking a hit on quantity to maintain silage quality. Bearing this in mind – farmers should gauge the most likely harvest date, work backwards at least three weeks and treat then if conditions are right.

“Spraying is most effective when the docks are at the rosette stage and actively growing up to 25cm across or high. Many docks are at, or close to this point now.”

All not lost
While weeds should ideally be sprayed before first cut, Mr Roberts says if farmers miss the chance, all is not lost. In some cases it can be better to treat 21 days after first cut, as all the dock plants will have fresh, even re-growth which is readily receptive to spraying. The only thing to remember is to leave another three weeks before the next cut of silage is taken.

Mr Roberts suggests using a translocated herbicide like DoxstarPro – a new more concentrated formulation of Doxstar, as this gives good control of docks and chickweed. It also has a useful effect on dandelion, which is particularly prevalent this year.

The active ingredients in this type of product are systemic. This means they travel around inside the plant, reaching deep into the roots, as well as affecting the leaves and stem. They do need a bit of time to do this, but in the end produce much better results than products that just burn off the leaves, leaving the rest of the plant intact.

Safe to grass
Also, translocated herbicides do not adversely affect grass in any way. “This is particularly important on farms where silage stocks have run low and farmers are hoping for high yielding grass crops to fill the clamps back up,” says Mr Roberts. “The aim is to be ready as soon as an opportunity to spray presents itself and this will stop docks limiting grassland productivity this year.”


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