Spray docks three weeks before first cut silage

Dock plant the ideal size for spraying

Dock plant the ideal size for spraying

Spraying docks with a translocated herbicide now, when they are young, healthy and actively growing, will increase grass silage yields and improve the feed quality of the resulting forage.

Docks are growing early this year, due to the relatively mild winter and warm start to spring. They have good root systems and will out-compete the grass as temperatures increase.

“There are plenty of established docks in fields I have been walking, and some are almost the right size for spraying,” says Brent Gibbon, grassland agronomy manager for Dow AgroSciences. “They should be 20 cm wide or dinner-plate sized.”

The best way to tackle docks in silage crops is to spray with Doxstar®Pro, which enters the plant and travels right down to the roots. It takes three to four weeks to do this, so farmers should work out when first cut is likely to take place, then spray at least three weeks before that date.

Spraying grassland with herbicide either a week before or a week after a nitrogen fertiliser application can boost its effectiveness, as the weeds are growing more quickly which enhances the effect of the herbicide.

Who can buy herbicides?

The Sustainable Use Directive has come into play over the past two years and there are now rules over who can apply professional use herbicides.

Anyone can buy a pesticide as long as they know the person who will make the application is suitably qualified. The obligation is on the purchaser to abide by this and it is an offence not to do so.

To apply herbicides, the sprayer operator will need either a Level 2 Safe Use of Pesticide certificate – PA1 & PA2 for boom sprayer or PA1 & PA6 for hand held sprayers. Or the NTPC Level 2 Award in the safe use of pesticides, which replaces Grandfather Rights.

All boom sprayers greater than 3 m width now need a Sprayer MOT issued by the National Sprayer Testing Scheme (NSTS). Hand held and knapsack sprayers and boom sprayers less than 3 m width are exempt.

To store professional use products, a farmer must have a store that can retain leakage or spillage to a volume of 110% of the total quantity of products likely to be stored, or 185% if in an ‘environmentally sensitive area’.