Active management of the oilseed rape andcereal harvests with glyphosate will be crucial in helping growers across thecountry cope with yet another season of variable weather and later-maturingcrops, believe leading crop advisers.
Very late and extended flowering means the winter OSR harvest is set to be wellbehind and maturity all over the place this year, points out Procam nationalagronomy manager, Nick Myers. With winter wheat equally delayed in itsdevelopment and the most widely grown varieties notably late in their ripening,were looking at challenging harvesting here too.
At the same time, after the experience of last autumn the pressure is reallyon to avoid late oilseed rape and wheat drilling, adds Agrii head oftechnology, Clare Bend. And we really want a good 2014 harvest to make up forwhats looking like being two lean years in a row. So the last thing anyoneneeds is another late or difficult harvest.
Which is why both specialists see the bestpossible harvest management as particularly important this season, pointing tothe major practical benefits highlighted by an extensive national study intothe technique last year.
Three quarters or more of the 150 growers across the country involved in the2012 study, indeed, credited pre-harvest glyphosate with improving the evennessof crop ripening, speed and ease of combining and reliability of harvesttiming, as well as valuable extra weed control.
Other important benefits reported by morethan four in 10 growers included lower drying costs, less risk from poor dryingweather, lower grain losses and better workload planning.
Thebenefits are clear, but harvest management needs to well-planned and managedfor the greatest value, insists Clare Bend. Mature crops present a special challenge forany herbicide. So both the quality of the glyphosate and its application arecrucial.
Wehave long preferred Roundup Max for its superior rainfastness, speed of uptakeand activity under less-than-ideal conditions. Over the years, our growers andagronomists have found it invaluable in managing both their OSR and cerealharvests.
Itsessential to apply the product right, though, she stresses. Little connection between crop appearanceand grain ripeness in many cases makes following the tried and trusted timingguidelines vital. Equally important is having enough patience to combine onlywhen the crops are ready, recognising that this will take longer in colder,wetter conditions.
However long it takes, pre-harvestglyphosate almost always allows our growers to combine earlier and faster thannatural drying, reports Nick Myers. Especially so with the sheer amount ofgreenness in crop stems these days. Ithas become an important tool in reducing agronomic risk.
Aswell as using a modern high performance Roundup for the most reliable action,you should only spray once the average seed or grain moisture content dropsbelow 30% and leave a minimum of 14 days before harvesting OSR and seven dayswith cereals.
Match water volumes carefully to crop canopies, spray with low drift nozzlesand particular care, and be prepared to use higher rates where perennial weedsare present, he advises.