Kill weeds in game cover crops now

Quinoa and triticaleLate May/early June is the perfect time to control weeds appearing in cereal and brassica game cover crops, which have all germinated and are now growing as small plants.

“Controlling weeds in cover crops can be tricky, as there is usually a mix of desired plants, and potentially a lot of target weeds all growing up together,” says Dilwyn Harris, principal biologist for Dow AgroSciences.

“A broad spectrum treatment, such as Dow Shield 400, kills a wide range of weeds without harming the game cover, including kale, maize, millet, miscanthus, phacelia, cereals and stubble turnips. Buckwheat, quinoa and sorghum can suffer a set-back, but any damage will be slight and certainly not life-threatening.”

Dow AgroSciences, working with Oakbank Conservation based near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, has carried out trials to examine the best timing and dose rate of Dow Shield 400, in a number of ‘off the shelf’ game cover mixes.

The results showed that applications of between 0.25 L/ha and 0.5 L/ha at the 4-6 leaf stage of the game cover crops, gave high levels of weed control with minimal crop damage, particularly on slightly sensitive crop types like quinoa, compared to later applications.

Thistles a problem?

Where thistles are the main problem weed in game cover crops, spraying Thistlex at 1 L/ha will control them well.

Thistlex can also be used against thistles infesting grass margins being managed under agri-environment schemes, as long as the farmer achieves a derogation from Natural England first.

A number of Dow AgroSciences products have Extensions of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMU) approval. These are:
• Dow Shield 400
• Kerb Flo
• Starane 2
• Starane XL
• Thistlex

More information on weed control in game cover can be found in our Game Cover Crops Topic Sheet