Dock control in grassland essential to maintain forage quality
Dock control in grassland 'essential' to maintain forage quality
Controlling docks in grassland is important to maintain forage quality and livestock output, but herbicide choice has become more limited and perennial weed has become even more widespread this year. "Docks compete directly with grass, reducing yield and effective pasture life as well as affecting the forage quality" said Stuart Sutherland, business development manager for Interfarm UK."They are very competitive weeds with large tap roots that survive over the winter period and rapidly grow in the early spring." "We are seeing far more docks this year as fewer farmers were able to spray last year due to the wet weather and these weeds thrive in patchy open swards which are easy to locate this season. Docks are also a real challenge to control successfully as more actives are lost to this sector each year."Squire Ultra is one of the few herbicides recommended in grassland, particularly in grass with a clover component."Optimum timing for dock control is linked to the direction of flow of the weed’s translocation system" Sutherland said."At the start of spring, when docks start to grow, nutrients are being moved upwards from the tap roots reserves to develop new shoots and leaves. This is too early for Squire Ultra as the herbicide will not be moved to where it needs to be. When the weed is at “dinner plate size”, this flow reverses so nutrients are being moved downwards from the leaves to the roots. This is when Squire Ultra is best applied so the herbicide is taken into the roots.""You can be too late as when the docks have seed heads and overlapping leaves, the nutrient flow changes once again to an upward direction, with the root reserves being transported to help with develop seed heads. At this time it is best to cut the docks and treat regrowth when appropriate."Stuart Sutherland points out that Squire Ultra does not affect white clover and can be applied to seedlings from the one or two trifoliate leaf stage onwards, with complete crop safety. “Other products might control docks but they wipe out the clover,” he points out."Squire Ultra can knock back large established docks well, but may not wipe them out completely in just one application; unsurprisingly when you consider how enormous the root systems are and how variable weed sizes in any one field can be. But when used in a programmed approach over time, it will give good results with no crop safety or following crop problems, which is a real advantage in grassland," he says.Squire Ultra contains 75% amidosulfuron formulated as a Water Dispersible Granule and is packed in a 240 grams pack. It is recommended on grassland for the control of docks, cleavers, charlock, shepherd’s purse and field forget-me-not at a dose rate of 60 g/ha. Squire Ultra should be used when docks are at a suitable growth stage between the 1st of February and the 30th June in rotational grass and between the 1st February and the 15th October on permanent grass. It has no LERAP and is safe to white clover. Keep livestock out of treated areas for at least 7 days after treatment and until foliage of any poisonous weed such as ragwort has died and become unpalatable. Do not cut for hay or silage for at least 21 days following treatment.
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