Maximising moisture retention and minimising weed pressure - Elders Rural Services

Maximising moisture retention and minimising weed pressure

The recent widespread and substantial rain is, of course, great news for grain growers.

But taking full advantage of the great growing conditions once the crops are in the ground means retaining as much of that moisture as possible through to sowing. One key aspect of doing that is keeping weed pressure to a minimum.

We suggest talking to your local Elders branch about including Sharpen in the mix for your fallow sprays or a pre-sowing double knock.

‘Sharpen’s top two advantages are its speed of action and efficacy on hard-to-kill broadleaf weeds’ explains Stuart McLaverty, a Senior Portfolio Manager at BASF, the manufacturers of Sharpen.

‘It controls most weeds within 72 hours, and that fast knockdown can make a real difference to the amount of moisture that remains in the ground because the weeds haven’t been able to hang on for days or even weeks, still drawing it up.’

‘Of course, there are some weeds that other products might not kill at all and Sharpen helps with some of the usual suspects there as well. It’s a broadleaf weed specialist that’s exceptionally effective on problem species like fleabane and milk thistle in their early stages.’

Mick Marchant, of Elders Young, confirmed how well Sharpen works on those tougher broadleafs in autumn 2018. You can still find his full product review on the website. Mick explains that he sprayed Sharpen tank-mixed with glyphosate 450 on a paddock where the weed mix included fleabane, wireweed, milk thistle and glyphosate-resistant annual ryegrass.

‘I was surprised with the good level of control I got’, Mick says, ‘it did a very good job in tougher conditions when I normally need to use a double knock.’

Mick’s test also showcased another benefit of Sharpen. Adding its systemic Group G activity to the rotation helps reduce reliance on glyphosate and overcome any resistance issues that have already emerged.

‘My current approach to weed management, especially ryegrass, is to hit it early and take no prisoners’, says Mick, ‘I see Sharpen having a fantastic fit in these problem areas, but also in my everyday spray recommendations into fallow knockdowns.’

BASF’s own trial work has shown Sharpen can strengthen any double knock strategy. They recommend two options. As a first spray, they’ve found a three-way tank-mix of Sharpen, glyphosate and 2,4-D amine will rapidly reduce weed biomass, even if the weed spectrum is very broad. Where target broadleafs like fleabane, sowthistle and wild radish have emerged, they suggest a second spray of Sharpen alone or Sharpen and paraquat.

With the likelihood of crops in so many areas getting off to a strong start this year, changing up the usual weed-control routine should really pay off. Adding Sharpen to the program will increase the speed and extend the spectrum of weed control to keep more moisture and nutrients available to the young crops.

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Talk to your local Elders branch about including Sharpen in the mix for your fallow sprays or a pre-sowing double knock

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