Affordable actives can provide a much-needed boost to pre-em herbicide treatments

Adding pendimethalin and/or diflufenican to select herbicide co-packs can boost pre-emergence weed control in winter wheat, according to the crop protection company ADAMA.

As the drilling date for winter wheat approaches, choosing the right control strategy to protect crops from grassweeds becomes ever more important. With production costs remaining elevated, it is paramount that farmers get the most out of their herbicide treatment.

Addressing the difficulties farmers are facing, ADAMA herbicide technical specialist, Dr Bill Lankford, said:

“As part of ADAMA’s remit to provide beneficial solutions to the problems faced by UK cereals growers, we recently commissioned a series of trials to assess the efficacy of two popular pre-emergence herbicide co-packs to determine how effective they are at controlling difficult grassweeds such as black-grass and ryegrass and to determine if their efficacy can be improved with the inclusion of additional tank mix partners.”

The first set of trials assessed the effect of adding pendimethalin to an alconifen plus flufenacet and diflufenican herbicide mix. The results have shown that the inclusion of Anthem (400g/litre pendimethalin) improved black-grass control by reducing heading numbers by an average of 16%, with the benefit ranging from +3% to +26%.

“The same five independent trials also showed that adding pendimethalin as a tank mix partner helped to reduce the variability of black-grass control, with all five trials showing a significant uplift and consistency in protection,” Dr Lankford added.

The inclusion of pendimethalin (right) to a co-pack of alconifen, flufenacet and diflufenican (centre) gave improved black-grass control. Untreated plot (left).

The next set of trials involved adding diflufenican to a tank mix of cinmethylin plus pendimethalin. Again, the combination improved blackgrass control by reducing variability and also delivered a 10% reduction in heading numbers when used against ryegrass resistant to flufenacet.

In his concluding remarks, Dr Lankford said: “What we’ve shown is that the inclusion of an extra active ingredient provides a useful boost to a pre-emergence herbicide co-pack.”

“In a year when fuel and fertiliser costs remain high, and with crop values also remaining elevated, it makes sense for growers to provide crops with the very best levels of weed control, with relatively cheap actives such as pendimethalin and diflufenican offering a viable return on investment.”

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