Reflecting on cereal broad-leaved weed control: a grower’s perspective

Paul DrinkwaterWe recently caught up with Paul Drinkwater from Abbott’s Ripton Estate, Huntingdon. When asked how the past season went, Paul’s response echoed the feeling of many: Challenging. The weather in February and March meant there was no window to apply early herbicides, causing all farm activities to happen from mid-April onwards.

This late start and the uncertain weather meant there was a need for something robust to control the onslaught of broad-leaved weeds; something that would work in all conditions. For this reason, Paul chose Zypar™ – for flexibility but also due to an ongoing poppy problem, as well as the constant headache of cleavers, which have always been problematic on the farm. In the past they have used Starane, then Starane XL for cleaver control, but the move to an Arylex™ active based product with its timing flexibility and weed spectrum sees them very happy with the results. They also found an added bonus in the affect it had on thistles. Whilst not a label weed, it did enough to save them having to mix with another product.

Moving to spring barley as part of their blackgrass control strategy has meant a lack of pre-emergence treatments, causing far more broad-leaved weeds to emerge. Paul feels that Arylex based Zypar is a “One stop shop that fits the bill”, with maybe an addition of Ally Max to extend the spectrum where necessary. Having been tested to the extreme this past season, he is looking forward to earlier applications in 2019. Hopefully more “normal” timings will ensure a less stressful spread of the workload, as well as the yield benefits associated with the early removal of weed competition.