Meadow-grass curbed by Bayer’s rising star

Thriving in wet and cold conditions, annual meadow-grass has got off to a flying start this season.  With sizeable populations of well-established plants waiting to be treated, one product – Bayer’s Othello (iodosulfuron +mesosulfuron + diflufenican) – appears to be top of many agronomists’ recommendations this spring.

The rethink of annual meadow-grass control strategies after the withdrawal of IPU has seen growers try several options, but Othello is emerging as a clear favourite.

In the worst-hit areas, growers in eastern parts of Scotland are faced with annual meadow-grass plants bigger than the crop, explains Masstock’s Dougie Bain.  “Winter wheat has been slow to get away so, with tillering meadow-grass competing heavily for nutrients, we’ll apply Othello as soon as possible.”

Further south, growers in Bedfordshire faced a similarly tricky autumn period where applications of residuals were hampered, says The Arable Group’s David Parish.  “Weather turned from dry to wet very quickly.  Some growers applied pre- or early post-em treatments but not as many as planned.

“Much land remains untreated and dry conditions at drilling have caused variable performance of residual treatments.  Where treatment is required I’ll be making recommendations for Othello on winter wheat this spring.  It’s the only option for well-established meadow-grass.”

Cheshire agronomist Andy Roberts took advantage of spray windows in autumn to treat early-drilled crops with half-rate Liberator (flufenacet + diflufenican).  “Around half the winter wheat has been treated and it’s done an excellent job.  We’ll follow-up with Othello in spring to finish off,” he says. 

“Crops which weren’t treated in the autumn now have meadow-grass at tillering which will be treated with Othello as soon as plants start to move.  Manganese deficiency is now being seen in many crops, and pressure on spring workloads is starting to rise, but don’t try to do too much at once,” he emphasises.  “Apply manganese first and follow later with Othello to avoid stressing the crop.  We know we can rely on Othello for control of larger meadow-grass.”