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HEAD OFF HARVEST HEADACHES BY CHECKING GAPPY CROPS FOR WEEDS

Be alert to late flushes of weeds that could hamper harvesting operations appearing in this year’s gappy or thin cereal crops after recent rains, says Paul Gruber, regional technical manager for agronomy firm, ProCam.

Gaps left in crops where waterlogging caused seedlings to rot away over winter are particularly vulnerable to weed invasion, he says, as too are spring or winter cereals where plant populations were hit by the spring drought.

“Recent rains and warm weather have already stimulated weeds to emerge in gaps within cereal crops,” says Mr Gruber. “Fast-growing weeds such as bindweed, cleavers and knotgrass can cause major headaches at harvest unless dealt with. Green material wrapped around cereal stems can result in harvest delays and increase grain drying costs,” he adds.

In response, Mr Gruber urges growers to walk fields to identify weed patches that may cause problems.

“Problem fields may benefit from an application of pre-harvest glyphosate. This isn’t an expensive operation and can pay dividends for improving harvesting ease. However, take time to do it properly. Adhere to usage restrictions, such as not treating crops to be used for seed and checking with grain buyers that treated crops are acceptable. Also, remember to adhere to harvest intervals and to time spraying correctly in relation to crop maturity. Including an adjuvant may also be useful to improve rainfastness in showery conditions,” he adds.