Plan now for pre-first cut weed control

Recent cold, wet weather has extended winter housing periods and will delay turnout of livestock in many places. When the weather does warm up, grass and perennial weeds such as docks be will grow quickly. Large infestations should be sprayed at least three weeks before first cut silage and farmers are urged to get ready now.

“April is usually the perfect time to tackle docks growing in crops destined to become silage. Spray at least three weeks before the forager goes in to allow a good and thorough weed kill,” explains Andy Bailey, principal biologist for Dow AgroSciences.

“The docks must be actively growing and dinner-plate sized. If the docks are too small uptake of herbicide will not be as good as it should be.”

Mr. Bailey advises farmers to walk the fields to see where the worst weed infestations are. Then decide how to tackle them, either with a specific herbicide such as DoxstarPro for docks, which will also kill chickweed and dandelions, or a broad-spectrum spray such as the Pas.Tor Agronomy pack. Buy and have the products delivered on farm and book the contractor if one is used.

“As soon as conditions come right, farmers must be prepared to go out and spray their silage ground to give the herbicide the longest time possible to translocate down into the roots to deliver a lasting kill. Grass will quickly colonise the bare patches left by the dead docks and then the grassland’s full potential can be realised.”


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About The Author

John Swire - Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.