Grassland and Maize Agronomy Update – March 2018

Grassland & Maize newsletter

Welcome to the Grassland and Maize Agronomy Update from DowDuPont. With the merger of Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Crop Protection and DuPont Pioneer, this newsletter now covers maize as well as all things grassland.

These regular technical notes are a seasonal commentary to help those interested in improving grassland and forage productivity on dairy, beef, sheep and equestrian enterprises.

You can claim two CPD points for subscribing to this email update.


  • Temperature and weed growth
  • Chickweed
  • Dandelions
  • Targeting docks before first cut silage
  • New sown leys – decision criteria Leystar or Envy?
  • Pioneer Silage inoculants for 2018
  • Key Pioneer maize hybrids for 2018
  • Low drift technology
  • End of ‘Grandfather Rights’
  • BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection (Grassland & Forage Crops)
  • FAQs
  • Show Dates

Temperature and weed growth

Grass and weeds start to grow significantly when the soil temperature gets above about 6°C, however some weeds such as chickweed have the ability to use nitrogen in the soil very rapidly and smother out grass.  Perennial weeds such as dandelions have a tap root that stores energy from the previous year, it uses this to get a head start on the grass.


Envy chickweed trial

Common chickweed can be a significant problem in new sown grass swards. It will also occur in gaps in established grass. Chickweed grows rapidly, and its prostrate habit restricts grass growth. Chickweed can cause reductions in silage yield, and can cause digestive upset in young grazing animals such as lambs and calves.  Under the cooler temperatures and fluctuating diurnal temperatures we are experiencing at present, Envy™ will outperform straight fluroxypyr for chickweed control.

Envy controls both common chickweed and mouse-ear chickweed.




Dandelions are one of the earliest weeds to emerge. To achieve the best control spray before flowering, but when there is sufficient green leaf to take in the herbicide – so timing can be tight.  April is an ideal month for targeting dandelions in grassland.

Dandelions are more likely a problem on grassland that is grazed and nutrient deficient. Such grass swards may contain less competitive grass species and so these weeds can quickly dominate.

If dandelions are the main weed, then use Envy. If there is a mixed population of dandelions and docks, then use Doxstar®Pro. For a wide spectrum of weeds, including dandelions use Forefront®T. Remember Forefront T offers exceptional broad-leaved weed control, but can only be used on grazing ground grazed by cattle or sheep.

Targeting docks before first cut silage

With the long winter we have had, silage stocks are low.  Don’t then let docks reduce your silage yields.  Make sure you optimise the amount of grass for silage this season.  Recent wintry weather means that growth is still suppressed, but as spring approaches, plan dock sprays now – particularly on fields destined for silage.

What is the right size of dock to spray? The ideal size is about 20 cm cross – dinner-plate sized.

Use full label rates to get lasting levels of control and reduce the need for follow up sprays.

DoxstarPro translocates exceptionally well meaning it gets right down into the roots. Allow three to four weeks for it to work and deliver a lasting effect.

Applications made in early to mid-April will get rid of the weeds well ahead of first cut, giving the grass a chance to re-colonize the space left by the dead weeds.

DoxstarPro will kill clover so if present and the decision is made to remove the docks then plan to reintroduce clover six weeks later.

DoxstarPro gives good control of both broadleaved and curled docks. Apply at full dose rate of 2 L/ha in a water volume of 300 L/ha, unless air inclusion nozzles are being used, when the water volume can be reduced to 200 L/ha.

New Sown Leys

Many grassland herbicide products state that grass should be ’established’, i.e. over twelve months old at the time of treatment. The number of available herbicides for newly sown leys is limited, so Leystar™ and Envy, both new last year, are essential tools for use in newly established grassland. They both give broad-spectrum weed control, and are very safe to the grass.  It is more economical and effective to treat weeds when they are small, rather than wait for them to establish and treat when they are bigger.

Leystar can be used at 1.0 L/ha in new sown leys and brings in sow thistle and thistle control.  Envy can be used at 1.5 L/ha in new sown leys and so will be better on docks generating from root fragments.

Pioneer silage inoculants for 2018

There is a Pioneer silage inoculant for nearly all silage making situations. Pioneer products have been extensively tested and proven to significantly improve forage quality. Pioneer inoculants are water soluble and can be applied in liquid form at dilution rates of between 10 ml and 2 litres of water per tonne of forage. Two pack sizes which treat 50 tonnes and 250 tonnes of forage are available.



Key Pioneer Maize hybrids for 2018

P7326 – Extra early

  • Fastest Pioneer hybrid to reach 30 % dry matter content
  • Very good early vigour and preferred for cold sites and early harvest

P7378 – Very early

  • Very high dry matter yields for this maturity
  • Tall hybrid suited for the production of milk and biogas

P7034 – Very early

  • NEW for 2018 – For high production livestock farmers
  • First very early maturity Pioneer hybrid with dent like grain texture

P7892 – Very early

  • Large stature hybrid
  • High dry matter yields and fast stover dry down

P7524 – Early

  • Large stature hybrid with very good early vigour High dry matter yields for this maturity

P8057 – Early

  • High dry matter yields High starch content

P7923 – Early

  • Shorter stature hybrid with high dry matter yields Stiff strawed, suitable for grain production

P7905 – Intermediate

  • Very high dry matter yields
  • For favourable sites or planting using the Samco System*

P8200 – Intermediate

  • Very high dry matter yields
  • For favourable sites or planting using the Samco System*

P8201 – Intermediate

  • Very high dry matter yields, good starch content
  • For very favourable sites or planting using the Samco System*

* The Samco System is a method of cultivating maize under plastic film

Join the Pioneer Business Club

Your advantages as a club member:

  • A variable PBC Bonus payment is made to PIONEER BUSINESS CLUB members who purchase Pioneer Brand products in 2018 to the value of over £ 3,000.
  • NRM Soil Analysis
  • ONE free standard soil analysis (pH, phosphate, potassium and magnesium) with the purchase of every 12 bags of Pioneer Brand maize seed from an appointed Pioneer Commissionaire by the 28th February 2018.
  • Test the Best Programme
  • Try a new Pioneer maize hybrid on your farm simply by submitting your application for a Free of Charge 25,000 kernel bag. Offer is made subject to seed availability.
  • Latest information about products and crop agronomy
  • Opt in to receive our technical bulletins which provide topical and practical advice during the year.
  • Meetings and field days
  • Benefit from the know-how of our experts and profit from our information programme about special topics.
  • VIP-status at agricultural events
  • Call in to see us at different shows and events for complimentary refreshments. the Pioneer Business Club

Low drift technology

The use of air inclusion nozzles should be encouraged as many livestock farmers still apply using flat fan nozzles. Air inclusion nozzles reduce spray drift, lower water volume can be used and technical performance can still be maintained. Consequently less spray tank fills means greater productivity. See our short instructional video for more information.




End of ‘Grandfather Rights’ – Are you qualified to use pesticides?

If you previously sprayed under the ‘Grandfather Rights’ exemption, then you have until the end of 2018 to take the “City & Guilds Level 2 Award Safe Use of Pesticides Replacing Grandfather Rights”. The qualification will not be available for registration after 31st December 2018. After this date candidates will have to take full qualifications from the PA suite of specified certificates.

This certificate is ideal for those farmers who were born before 31 December 1964 and have many years’ experience in working with professional pesticide products but as yet have not taken a specified certificate.  It was developed on the premise that candidates have had previous training and experience to operate under Grandfather Rights, so takes less time and costs less to register than the full pesticide awards.

It is only applicable for those using professional pesticide products on land they own or occupy.

Candidates can either self-study using a work book or attend a training course to ensure they have the necessary skills and knowledge.  Candidates will have to take a 1-2-1 practical assessment covering knowledge and competence based on the equipment that they use to apply pesticides.

For those who want to contract spray or spray for a neighbour using professional products they will need to take the full relevant pesticide qualifications:

Level 2 Principles of Safe Handling and Application of Pesticides (PA1)

Plus an additional application qualification, e.g.

  • Level 2 Award in the Safe Application of Pesticides using Pedestrian Hand Held Equipment (PA6)
  • Level 2 Award in the Safe Application of Pesticides Using Self Propelled, Mounted, Trailed Horizontal Boom Sprayers (PA2)

To find out more go and click on qualifications.

BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection (Grassland & Forage Crops)

This course provides training and certification for sellers of agrochemicals and those giving advice on their use in grassland. Its ideal for those focused on the livestock sector and enables you to give bespoke advice to farmers seeking support.

Visit BASIS: to find out when and where the courses are being run in 2018.

For more information on courses in Scotland see, phone Martin Richards 0131 535 4081 or email Moyra Farquhar

Dates for Grassland & Forage BASIS courses – Scotland:

Crop Walk 30th May 2018
Agronomy (Grass and Forage) Course 2rd-4th October 2018
Crop Walk 21st November 2018
Safety Course 21st–25th January 2019
Crop Walk 13th February 2019
Crop Walk 29th May 2019
Revision Day and Exams 26th-27th February 2019 (provisional dates) 11th–12th June 2019 depending on demand (provisional dates)


Q. What can I use to control buttercups?
A. Envy, Leystar and Forefront T will all give good control of the most commonly found creeping and meadow buttercup species.

Q. When can silage be cut if Forefront T is going to be used this spring?
A. Forefront T should NOT be used on grass destined for silage in the year of its application. It can be used in a silage field after the last cut of silage has been taken. Grass from that field can be used to make silage the following year but silage and resulting manure must stay on the farm.

Show Dates

The technical team from Dow AgroSciences will be out and about at many shows and events this Spring, talking to farmers and agronomists and answering questions on how to tackle weed problems in their fields.

Catch the team at:

May 10th Grassland UK Bath & West
May 16th Royal Welsh Grassland Carnbwll, Four Crosses, Powys
May 17th FTMTA Grass & Muck Gurteen College, Birr
May 25th NBA Beef Expo Halls Shrewsbury Livestock Auctions Centre
May 30th NSA Scot Sheep Kings Arms Farm, Ballantrae
July 18th NSA Sheep Event Three Counties Showground, Malvern

For regular updates on agronomic issues, find us on Twitter and Facebook

For further information please contact the Technical Hotline on 0800 689 8899 / or go to

Use plant protection products safely. Always read the label and product information before use. For further information including warning phrases and symbols refer to label.

®™ Trademark of the Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) or an affiliated company of DowDuPont or Pioneer.  All other brand names are trademarks of other manufacturers for which proprietary rights may exist.

DoxstarPro contains fluroxypyr and triclopyr
Envy contains fluroxypyr and florasulam
Forefront T contains aminopyralid and triclopyr
Leystar contains fluroxypyr, clopyralid and florasulam

Corteva AgriScience, Agriculture division of DowDuPont, CPC2, Capital Park, Fulbourn, Cambridge, CB21 5XE.  Tel: +44 (0) 1462 457272.

Technical Hotline: 0800 689 8899 email: |