Cambridgeshire-based Dow AgroSciences has brought two new weed control products to market.
The first product, Envy, will be the cheapest herbicide available within the Dow range of products. It is targeted at low-input grassland, offering control of weeds such as daisies, buttercup, dandelions, chickweed and docks. Used on established grassland at a rate of 2l/ha, or 1.5l/ha on new sown leys, it can be applied any time between 1 February and 30 November (weeds should be actively growing). Stock can be returned to pasture after 7 days.
Weed control in new sown leys
The second product is Leystar (to be sold as Pastor Trio in the Republic of Ireland). It is being marketed by Dow as a new way of controlling weeds in new sown leys, offering good control of chickweed, buttercups, seedling docks and thistles. It can be applied to new sown leys (once the grass plant has three true leaves) at a rate of 1l/ha. It currently has a label recommendation limiting use between 1 February and 31 August, so it is probably restricted to a spring or summer reseed. Leystar also has approval for post emergent weed control in maize (up to 3 to 6 leaf stage).
Both Envy and Leystar (Pastor Trio) contain Florasulam, the first new active ingredient approved for use in grassland for 12 years. It has a short half-life in the field (10 days) so is quickly degraded, and therefore unlikely to cause issues in surface waters. That is important in Britain and Ireland, where water quality monitoring has highlighted an increasing issue with some grassland herbicides being found in water bodies, particularly MCPA (used in rush control).
The two new products add to the range of other popular Dow grassland chemicals which includes Forefront, Doxstar Pro, Grazon Pro (knap sack sprayer application) and Thistlex. With Forefront and Doxstar Pro not recommended for use in new sown leys, the addition of Envy and Leystar is an important addition to the Dow product portfolio in 2017.
Neither product is clover safe, so farmers who want to introduce clover in a new sward, but also want to control weeds, will have to look at other alternatives on the market. Farmers report varying levels of success with clover-safe products, but generally they work best when weeds are at a seedling stage (not growing from established roots). The other option is to control weeds now, and introduce clover at a later date.