Where a pre-emergent herbicide has not been used on recently planted winter cereals, Teagasc is recommending the application of a broad-acting herbicide on crops at early post-emergence, in terms of weed control.

Herbicide selection should be based on field history, as there are very few mixes available that cover a complete range of weeds.

Priority should be given to the most competitive weeds, e.g., annual meadow grass, cleavers, sterile brome, charlock and wild oats.

Weed control options

Popular weed control options for wheat and barley include: Flight 4.0L; Defy 2.0L plus DFF 0.1L; Tower 2.0L; and Firebird 0.3L.

Teagasc tillage advisors also point out that there are many combinations of these active ingredients available in the market, which can offer flexibility and savings to growers.

For wheat only, Alister Flex is a good contact grass weed option, while Broadway Star is a strong sterile brome option, if soil temperatures are above 8°C.

It is important to reassess weeds four weeks later and when spring growth commences, as many treatments will require a follow-up herbicide.

Treating slugs

Where slugs are concerned, Teagasc is strongly advising growers to monitor any later-planted crops, especially wheat, for pest attack. Soils are now becoming wetter in the wake of recent heavy rains.

When slugs are suspected to be be a problem, farmers should lay down some traps using a plastic bag or slate with muesli underneath. It’s then a case of monitoring the traps on a daily basis to see the size of the slug populations.

If five or more slugs are noted, on average, then treatment is probably warranted on emerging or struggling crops.

Integrated Pest Managament

IPMworks is an EU-wide farm network demonstrating and promoting cost-effective integrated pest management (IPM) strategies.

The objective of the project is to establish a number of demonstration farms or hubs that will demonstrate and promote IPM strategies and techniques that can reduce EU farmers’ reliance on pesticides, while still maintaining pest control, crop yields and farm incomes.

IPMworks will establish a large integrated network of farms and advisors who will:

  1. Demonstrate that IPM-based strategies, when designed at farm level, can reduce the reliance on pesticides while boosting economic performance;
  2. Promote the adoption of advanced cost-effective IPM strategies, both by farmers within the network and by farmers linked in by network activities;
  3. Promote new advisory strategies to facilitate the routine use of IPM;
  4. Establish an organisation able to promote adoption of advanced IPM by all EU farmers.

Teagasc is working with a number of farms who are participating in the project and will hold walks on these farms demonstrating the specific IPM practices adopted on each individual farm.