Dow AgroSciences has launched two new grassland herbicides for farmers to use this spring.
Leystar is designed to use on new sown leys to control a wide range of weeds such as chickweed, charlock and fat hen and seedling perennial weeds like docks, buttercups and thistles.
It is particularly safe to use on young grass and can be sprayed from when three grass leaves have appeared.
Envy will find favour with owners of paddocks and pastures, which are typically nutrient deficient, over-grazed or worn out and where weeds have taken over.
Both herbicides contain florasulam, the first new active ingredient to be approved for use in established grassland for more than 12 years.
“We are pleased to be able to bring this active ingredient to the market to solve some common problems found on livestock farms,” explains Andy Bailey, Biology Team Leader for the Dow AgroSciences European Range and Pasture Business Unit.
“It will be a significant improvement on what is currently available. For example, farmers will now be able to control some key weeds like chickweed in cooler temperatures and buttercups and dandelions can be sprayed earlier to catch them before they flower.
“Low application rates and quick degradation in soil means it is unlikely to cause surface water issues.”
Leystar is a suspension emulsion formulation, which can be applied to new sown leys at 1 litre/ha any time from 1 February to 31 August. It comes in a 2 litre pack that treats 2 hectares (five acres).It is applied in 200 litres of water and is rainfast in two hours.
Leystar also has approval for post emergent weed control in maize.
Envy will control all species of buttercup, dandelions, plantains, daisies, chickweed and charlock, as well as many other weeds found in non-productive pasture.
With a wide application window from 1 February to 30 November, Envy will be particularly useful on horse paddocks as there are no manure management restrictions.
It has a short grazing interval of just seven days so stock can be returned quickly. It will kill clover, which is often an advantage in equestrian situations where it is not wanted.
Envy is sold is a 3 litre pack and applied at 2 litres/ha, which will treat 1.5ha (3.7 acres).
It is a Professional Use product, so has to be applied by a suitably qualified person, someone with a City and Guilds level 2 Principles of Safe Handling and Application of Pesticides (PA1) with a Level 2 Award in the Safe Application of Pesticides using Self Propelled, Mounted or Trailed Horizontal Boom Sprayers (PA2).
“At a time when the number of herbicides approved for use on UK farms is shrinking fast – with the loss of many products in the past three years, it is good we can launch new products for grassland farmers to use right now and in new situations.
“Just 9% of managed grassland receives a selective herbicide, but an estimated 20% of pastures are affected badly enough by weeds to affect productivity,” says Mr Bailey.
“This means 11% of fields are not yielding as much as they should be.
“And when farmers are desperately trying to reduce costs, increasing the output from grass by getting rid of the weeds, is one way of helping to cut their feed bills.”