Spring barley growers are being advised to modify their approach to broad leaved weed control to counter the dry conditions we are experiencing.

Although the South West has seen more rain than most, Corteva Agriscience says growers will want to create the conditions for spring barley crops to thrive if they are to realise their yield potential.

The agriculture division of DowDuPont says that controlling key competitive broad-leaved weeds such as cleavers, chickweed and fumitory will be vital but the dry weather is making effective weed control tough.

Herbicide category manager Alister McRobbie said: “Many spring crops were drilled early and in good conditions but the recent dry spell has left some fields struggling.

“This has resulted in more open crops, and with it, the increased risk of late germinating weed flushes.

“For those weeds already present, a lack of soil moisture will limit herbicide uptake through the root, and leaves will harden off.

“Weeds will not actively grow without warmth and moisture so most will be dormant at present but they will move away rapidly as soon as the rain comes.”

South West Farmer:

Spring barley growers advised to modify approach to counter dry conditions

He advises that there are a number of tactics growers can employ in dry conditions to maximise herbicide efficacy.

One is to maintain higher rates of herbicides which target the main weed threat in spring crops and will help ensure chemical enters the plant.

“Consider adding an adjuvant to improve uptake and use higher rates,” said Alister.

Avoiding crop damage to maximise yield is likely to be of increased importance this season so Alister advises growers to avoid complicated tank mixes and consider splitting out some treatments.

“Leave an appropriate interval between pesticide and liquid nitrogen applications to allow crops to recover, and avoid coarse quality sprays. If crops are already stressed this will damage their potential further”, he advised.

Timing applications is also important.

Alister advises spraying in the middle of the day and in the afternoon when temperatures are at their highest.

He said: “Consider fieldwork early in the morning or later in the evening when soil moisture and humidity is at its highest and soil temperatures are cooler.”