Monday, April 23, 2018

10% boost to grass yields from weed control

April 3, 2018 by  
Filed under Livestock

Livestock farmers can improve grass dry matter yields by more than 10% by introducing a planned weed control programme.  But timing of herbicide is critical along with the choice of product to maintain clover rich swards.

“Dairy, beef and sheep farmers already believe they can get more from their grass – the cheapest form of feed, however they are not sure how to,” says Simon Bishop of crop protection company Nufarm, which commissioned the research.

“Yield benefits of weed management are not yet widely understood by these farmers – but we know having clover safe options are important. Controlling common weeds such as docks and thistles from a 10% infestation level will deliver an extra 10% of grass dry matter.”

Despite being essential to producing good quality grass cover, good weed control is less important than good seed or fertiliser for many livestock farmers, according to a recent survey commissioned by Nufarm.

‘Tidying up’

While only half of all grassland farmers said they had controlled weeds during the last year, 80% of those respondents said it was “tidying up” rather than a weed control programme. Only the remaining 20% considered crop protection to be a means of improving grass production.

Little more than 5% of UK grassland has a herbicide application in any given year, and few grassland farmers treat more than 10% of their pasture in any season, says Mr Bishop, whohopes Nufarm’s Grassmanship programme will help farmers increase production and yield.

Grassland consultant and researcher George Fisher says: “Weed control is a key element of productive grassland farming – and it is important that herbicide applications are effective, made safely and with care for the environment.”

Controlling common weeds in a grazing sward with 10% infestation levels could improve yield from 10t DM/ha to 11t DM/ha, says Dr Fisher. Improved grazing availability and subsequent higher stocking rates can deliver a 14:1 return on investment, he adds.

Effective timing

“Similar results can be achieved from grassland for silage. Achieving that level of return is linked to correct timing of herbicide application. In fact, timing is everything. Herbicides applied too early or too late will not work as effectively, if at all.”

Generally, herbicides should be applied when weeds are healthy and the leaves actively growing, says Dr Fisher. Once stem extension starts, leaf growth is insufficient for the herbicide to work effectively, he adds.

“Weeds in reseeds are best controlled when the grass is at the two to three leaf stage. Docks and chickweed are the two most critical weeds to control in reseeds and must be controlled at the seedling stage.”

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

 
barbour pas cher barbour pas cher barbour pas cher barbour pas cher barbour pas cher golden goose saldi golden goose saldi golden goose saldi golden goose saldi golden goose saldi doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler pas cher doudoune moncler pas cher moncler outlet online moncler outlet online moncler outlet online moncler outlet online moncler outlet online