Control weeds in maize and sugar beet
SOME livestock farmers have turned to maize to deliver a portion of their winter feed requirements, but others -- particularly in the traditional sugar beet growing areas -- continue to rely on sugar beet and fodder beet to feed stock over the winter.
The indications are that the area of maize grown in the country may be back slightly this year, at around 22,000ha, and more producers seem to be sowing under plastic.
Whatever the growing environment, controlling weeds in both maize and beet crops present their own unique challenges.
Maize crops are now emerging through plastic and growing well, while later-sown crops in the open are just emerging. Controlling weeds and making sure crops have the required trace elements are the next priorities for maize growers.
The main post-emergence product used by farmers with maize not under plastic is likely to be Calaris. A rate of 1-1.5 litres/ha should be sufficient. To get the best residual results, this should go on at the 2-4 leaf stage, which will give up to six weeks' residual control and allow the crops to cover in.
Make sure there is adequate manganese and zinc to meet crop requirements; if this needs to be addressed then now is the best time to apply. As with any weed control programme, the effectiveness of the spray programme needs to be monitored.
There are a few weeds that can cause problems, namely black nightshade, orache and fat hen. These sometimes create difficulties with a second, later flush of growth emerging. A herbicide such as Bromoxynil could be used at a rate of 1.5-2 litres/ha to control any re-emerging weeds two to three weeks after the first spray.