Weed control in the spotlight at Cereals

Grass weeds and disease can decimate crops – and with chemical resistance on the rise it’s more important than ever to choose the most efficient control methods.

Whether it’s cutting edge new chemistry, or scientifically-backed advice, visitors to the Cereals Event (14-15 June) will be able to gather every tool in the armoury. And this year, it will be even easier to pinpoint the most relevant stands with the introduction of the Blackgrass Knowledge Trail and the Weeds, Disease and Nutrition Knowledge Trail.

Amid the current glyphosate battle, growers are increasingly turning to more holistic management practices to tackle blackgrass. One of the most detrimental weeds to arable farmers, blackgrass affects approximately 54% of cereal crops and in severe cases causes a 50% yield reduction. Yara is therefore looking at all methods of control, in particular, emphasising the role crop nutrition can play.

“While it is widely accepted that cultural controls – ploughing, rotation, and drilling date – are essential components of the blackgrass strategy, it is rare to see crop nutrition mentioned in the debate,” says Mark Tucker, head of agronomy at Yara UK. “Delaying drilling can help control blackgrass by 30% but this does leave crops coping with wetter soils that are less aerated, reducing nutrient availability.

“Late autumn or spring nutrition (including foliar applications) can recover some of the crop biomass that has been lost due to the poor conditions and provide plants with the necessary competitiveness to keep blackgrass in check.”

In the ever-popular Bayer black-grass area, visitors will be able to talk through all aspects of control programmes from cultural management, such as spring cropping and delayed drilling to new chemical options, including Hamlet (iodosulfuron + mesosulfuron + diflufenican), Monolith (mesosulfuron + propoxycarbazone) and a new pre-emergence black-grass herbicide.

“This year we are bringing our weed-screen to Cereals, which will allow growers to see herbicide performance from new and current options across a range of grassweeds, including different resistant strains of black-grass,” Ben Coombs, Bayer’s Campaign Manager for Cereal Herbicides, says.

Certis will also be featuring on the Blackgrass Knowledge Trail and offering top tips on how farmers should conduct a ‘blackgrass audit’ and assess their approach ahead of the autumn. “June is a perfect time to take samples to understand the resistance status on your farm, while thinking of mapping your fields to determine areas that might benefit from spraying off to reduce seed return,” says Certis technical manager, Adrian Sisson.

Management of other weeds and diseases is similarly multi-faceted, and with so many pesticides and herbicides on the market its often easy to lose track of the best available products.

One of the exhibitors to be showcasing a cutting edge new product this year is Syngenta. Its new SDHI fungicide, ELATUS™ ERA, was 15 years in the making and provides control against a broad spectrum of diseases, including brown rust, ramularia and fusarium.

“Registered for use on wheat, barley and rye at a maximum rate of 1l/ha ELATUS™ ERA is able to consistently deliver increased yields due to its ability to enhance green leaf area,” says Jason Tatnell, technical indication expert at Syngenta. “It also offers excellent activity on Septoria tritici which is really encouraging for prospective users.”

Dow AgroSciences will be exhibiting its brand-new cereal herbicide – Zypar. Promising robust control of broad-leaved weeds in both the autumn and spring, Zypar works well in cold and variable conditions, says Dow’s cereal herbicide product manager, Alex Nichols.

“Efficiency is king in modern day agriculture,” he adds. “Many farms don’t have the time or the money to take several passes to control broad-leaved weeds – they want something that will do everything at once.”

Other exhibitors taking part in these two Knowledge Trails include:

Blackgrass Weeds, Disease and Nutrition
Rytec Industrial Equipment – showcasing Ma/Ag min till drill for controlling blackgrass


Calcifert – focusing on improving soil nutrition.


KWS UK – Discussing spring cropping and its role in blackgrass control


Association of Independent Crop Consultants – Expert soil scientist on hand discussing crop nutrition.


ELsoms Seeds Ltd – Looking at hybrid and conventional rye to counteract high blackgrass populations.


Senova – Nitrogen in oats and the benefits
NIAB-  understanding the risk factors for black-grass control in winter oilseed rape, winter wheat and spring cereals Elsoms – A side range of demonstration crop plots covering wheat, hybrid wheat, hybrid barley, barley, hybrid rye etc
Certis – Blackgrass control and the flexible benefits of using a straight flufenacet cereal pre-emergence herbicide, Sunfire and System 50 in a programmed approach


Teejet Technologies – launching their new drift control spray tip; TTI6o