It pays to maximise pre-em efficacy

Jon Sensecall has been battling black-grass since 2012 and utilising all the tools in the toolbox, including adjuvant Backrow Max, to help him achieve the best black-grass control possible.

Farming 600 acres of wheat, barley, beans and oilseed rape in rotation, and contract farming another 450 acres in Southam, Warwickshire, Jon Sensecall is using every cultural control tool in the toolbox but black-grass continues to have an impact despite a robust herbicide programme. It’s for this reason Jon has also been focusing on application to maximise pre-em efficacy, with adjuvant Backrow Max going in the tank to push performance and get the most from all the modes of action.

Backrow Max benefits to Jon:

  • Key part of the application puzzle
  • Better herbicide coverage across the soil
  • Increased herbicide efficacy, giving better black-grass control
  • Helps get the most from all modes of action in difficult conditions

Jon’s black-grass battle

Black-grass has been a challenge on the farm since Autumn 2012, when the wet autumn delayed wheat drilling to such an extent, it wasn’t possible to apply a pre-em across a 160 acre block. A peri-em and post-em Atlantis application barely touched it and the worst field yielded 1.6 t/acre.

Since that time Jon and his team have implemented a robust IPM strategy employing spring cropping (including adding maize as another break crop), stale seedbeds, delayed drilling – as much as they can on heavy clays – and taking out bad areas with Roundup to get the weed under control.

But as well as a robust herbicide programme, Jon believes optimising the application is crucial, and is employing all the tools at his disposal to achieve the 98% control he knows he needs to keep it under control.

Optimising sprayer application & considering what goes in the tank has been a key focus

“We recently moved over to the Lechler IDTA nozzles [asymmetrical twin flat spray air-injector], and so far I’m impressed with the improved droplet size and coverage,” says Jon.

“Using the correct water rate is key – a minimum of 200 l/ha for a pre-em and up to 250-300 l/ha if required. I’m also a firm believer in driving the sprayer as slow as possible, which within our system is around 10km/hr. You might risk travelling a little faster and think you can get away with it, but the results speak for themselves.”

Adjuvant Backrow Max helps us achieve better black-grass control

Backrow Max is another piece of the application puzzle

Jon says using adjuvant Backrow Max is another piece of the application puzzle, adding it to all pre- and peri-emergence herbicide applications across spring and autumn crops. And because he’s using newer options such as Luxinum Plus, he says it pays to maximise activity and therefore boost return on investment.

Backrow Max helps us get more from the chemistry in difficult conditions

“Inputs on the whole aren’t cheap, but adding Backrow Max is a cost-effective way to increase control. Although the official data is always impressive, from a farmer’s perspective, you can see a visible benefit and that the chemistry is doing a better job,” he says.

Adjuvant Backrow Max helps us achieve better black-grass control

The focus now is on growing grass

Heading in to the 2023/24 season and Jon is focused on getting a good flush to spray off before establishing the next crop.

Tillage-wise, like many growers, Jon hasn’t used the plough for a number of years and recently started to use a low disturbance subsoiler followed by discs to prepare the seedbeds of his mostly heavy soils. “The aim is to keep the weed seed-bank as close to the surface as possible to achieve a decent flush ahead of planting.

“With all the rain we’ve had the black-grass has already chitted and we’re hoping we can grow as much grass as possible to spray off, before we start drilling.”

“We want a good 21 days between stale seedbeds and will be trying not to drill the wheat before October.”

Best start to the black-grass control programme

To achieve the best from chemistry Jon will be rolling to get a good firm fine seedbed to optimise soil:herbicide contact and applying a pre-em of Luxinum Plus + Orient + Backrow Max through his Househam Spirit S3-24 3,000 litre sprayer, as soon as possible after drilling.

That will be followed up with Octavian Met + Pontos + Backrow Max peri-em, in conditions Jon hopes will be better than autumn 2022.

“With the new leaching data for Backrow Max showing its ability to retain chemistry within 0-5cm, I hope it works to our advantage this coming year,” he concludes.

Backrow Max helps everything work better and allows us to get the most from all the modes of action in difficult conditions.”

Take your black-grass control to the max with Backrow Max

Adjuvant Backrow Max not only ensures maximum placement of pre-ems where they are needed, it also helps ensure they work as hard, and for as long, as possible.

You can find out more about Backrow Max by clicking here.

Please get in touch with Stuart below if you have any questions and need help.

Backrow Max can be purchased through Agrii in the UK