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Crop watch: Weed flushes and machinery hygiene – Farmers Weekly – Ben Pledger

Ben Pledger takes a look at agronomic issues in the East (Bedfordshire/Hertfordshire) ... ...

Now that the weather has warmed up and there is moisture in the soil, weeds in sugar beet are beginning to motor.

The slow start to the crop has lulled a few growers into a false sense of security, with first herbicides not going on to the crop soon enough, either due to reduced weather windows or increased sprayer workload, leaving a lot of work to be done on larger-than-desirable weeds.

On the other hand, delayed application of the Conviso One (foramsulfuron + thiencarbazone) herbicide on Conviso Smart sugar beet varieties has not been affected, with massive weeds, which would make any beet grower shudder, controlled with ease.

June sees the start of planning for the following year on a lot of farms. The usual decisions on which varieties to grow are starting to be made on the back of disease control this season.


Disease resistance

For winter wheat, growers seem to be opting for better disease resistance scores across the board, rather than just being drawn to the left-hand side of the Recommended List for the higher yielders. Blackgrass control has been very good in some places this year, and not so good in others. This is mostly down to the weather in the late autumn, whether any pre-emergence herbicides were applied and, in some cases, if a top-up residual went on later.

Where the chemistry was applied, better control was gained.

One thing that does strike me as pertinent to mention – and it is visible in crops at the moment – is machinery hygiene at harvest. Several of the crops l look after have new patches of weeds growing in them which haven’t been seen in these fields before.

Some are obviously from balers, where a clump of weeds seems to coincide with wherever a bale was dropped last summer; some are patches at the gateway of a field where the combine has pulled in, and then these weeds follow the path of the combine around the headland for a few hundred yards.

I know in the heat of harvest, stopping to clean down kit after dirty fields can get overlooked, but it really pays dividends to do it.

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