Backrow driving improved grass-weed control in Scotland
Despite developing grass challenges in the Scottish borders, agronomist Greig Baird from Agrii has seen encouraging results adding our Backrow adjuvant to the pre-emergence mix.
“I look after veg and cereal crops in the low ends of Scotland, North Northumberland and the Scottish borders. Like many farms across the UK, we’re tackling new challenges – conditions have been much drier over the past couple of years. As always, grass-weed control remains a priority for farmers and a huge part of my job – especially with the herbicide resistance issues we are now faced with.
In terms of the grass challenges experienced, things up here look a little different. While not on the scale seen throughout the rest of the UK, we are starting to see patches of black-grass creep into Scotland now. Annual meadow grass and brome are among the biggest issues we face on farms; brome in particular is hard to keep on top of. As we know, when competition from these weeds gets too much – the effects on the crop can be devastating.
The August-November season is all about cereals; I’m working a lot with barley and oilseed rape at the moment. As resistance mounts and legislation tightens, it’s vital to ensure farmers are able to make the most out of the tools still available to them. As a business, we’ve invested a great deal of time and energy seeking out a solution to eke every ounce of activity out of our herbicides and remove the risks that threaten efficacy.
With pre-emergence herbicides, getting the most out of the chemistry means making sure it’s held in the top layer of soil where it can make maximum contact with germinating weeds. Unfortunately, poor seed beds and difficulty during application make it hard to achieve the right level of control. Where we’re dealing with light soils, herbicides with a low absorption also tend to leach.
In the past three or four years, incorporating the Backrow adjuvant into the pre-emergence mix has helped us sidestep many of these issues, creating an optimum droplet size, delivering better coverage and helping us improve control in dry soils.
As a company, we have quite a big trial system in place, allowing us to test and assure quality for a couple of years before bringing products to our farmers commercially. Tested alongside a number of similar products, Backrow has stood out in terms of improvement and efficacy – increasing black-grass control by 9%. As a direct result, we now incorporate Backrow into the full range of pre-emergence armoury.
I find the product to be as useful in spring as I do in the autumn – if not more so. With the carrot and potato crops I look after, the drier the conditions, the better the efficacy of the product. I believe that spring barley pre-emergence for annual meadow grass could be a great market for Backrow. In terms of top tips, I usually apply Backrow at 0.2l/ha in the autumn and then 0.4l/ha in the spring – although if seedbed conditions are moist in the spring I may use 0.2l/ha.
It’s still early days, but it’s fair to say we have seen extremely encouraging results with Backrow so far.”
Anything that can help the pre-emergence herbicide bind to the soil, increase retention in the layer where the weeds are coming from and give us a percentage-increased control of black-grass is worthwhile having. By maintaining herbicide persistence in the weed germinating zone, we can help prevent further waves of weeds in the future and create healthier, more competitive crops.Greig Baird, Agronomist, Agrii