The control of annual and perennial weeds is good practice and a useful tool for productive grassland farming. Enhancing performance through maximising the yield of grass and ensuring optimum sward utilisation, which in turn can achieve a 10:1 return on spend with herbicides.
Timing of herbicide applications are paramount to achieving the best results. Applications that are made too early or too late in the growth stage of the weeds will not be as effective and long-term control is compromised. Generally, weeds are now at the ideal stage for control as weeds are actively growing, but where weeds are stronger in stem extension and flowering, it is best to graze, top or ensile and wait for regrowth before applying herbicides.
In silage land which has been cut for silage spraying can take place 3 to 4 weeks after mowing as weeds are most susceptible with docks at the ideal dinner plate size. It is important that herbicide applications are effective and carried out safely while also taking care of the environment.
In grazing land it can be difficult to plan weed control using herbicides as the exclusion period of animals can cause an issue. If weeds are at the correct stage and not too strong the weeds should be sprayed within a week of the animals being removed from the field, however if the weeds are too strong the field should be topped or mowed and weeds controlled when they regrow.
Reseeds should be inspected now both to check establishment and to monitor weeds, which following recent rain have germinated. In reseeds, weed control is best when weeds are at the 2 – 6 leaf stage. Seedling docks, chickweed and redshank are some of the most common weeds, and optimum long-term control, can be achieved at this seedling stage.
When selecting herbicides the first thing to do is check the range of weeds in the fields, and identify if clover is part of the sward.
At Fane Valley, we stock a wide range of grassland herbicides that provide control of both common weeds such as docks, chickweed and nettles as well as the less common weeds. We also have a range of bio stimulants, which can be co-applied with herbicides to reduce possible checking of grass while also providing a timely boost to growth rates.
For more information on grassland weed identification, herbicides and bio stimulants please contact your local Agronomy and Forage Specialist or the office on 028 9261 0485