June 24, 2013
Manage the 2013 Harvest Actively, Growers Advised
Active management of the oilseed rape and cereal harvests with glyphosate will be crucial in helping growers across the country cope with yet another season of variable weather and later-maturing crops.
“Very late and extended flowering means the winter OSR harvest is set to be well behind and maturity all over the place this year,” points out Agrii head of technology, Clare Bend. With winter wheat equally delayed in its development and the most widely grown varieties notably late in their ripening, we’re looking at challenging harvesting here too.
“At the same time, after the experience of last autumn the pressure is really on to avoid late oilseed rape and wheat drilling. And we really want a good 2014 harvest to make up for what’s looking like being two lean years in a row. So the last thing anyone needs is another late or difficult harvest. “
Against this background she sees the best possible harvest management as particularly important this season, pointing to the major practical benefits highlighted by an extensive national study into the technique last year.
Three quarters or more of the 150 growers across the country involved in the 2012 study, indeed, credited pre-harvest glyphosate with improving the evenness of crop ripening, speed and ease of combining, and reliability of harvest timing, as well as valuable extra weed control.
Other important benefits reported by more than four in 10 growers included lower drying costs, less risk from poor drying weather, lower grain losses and better workload planning (Figure).
Figure: What main benefits do you obtain from glyphosate harvest management ?
Source: National Harvest Management Study 2012.
“The benefits are clear, but harvest management needs to well-planned and managed for the greatest value,” she insists. “Mature crops present a special challenge for any herbicide. So both the quality of the glyphosate and its application are crucial.
“We have long preferred Roundup Max for its superior rainfastness, speed of uptake and activity under less-than-ideal conditions. Over the years, our growers and agronomists have found it invaluable in managing both their OSR and cereal harvests.
“It’s essential to apply the product right, though,” she stresses. “Little connection between crop appearance and grain ripeness in many cases makes following the tried and trusted timing guidelines vital. Equally important is having enough patience to combine only when the crops are ready, recognising that this will take longer in colder, wetter conditions.
“However long it takes, pre-harvest glyphosate almost always allows growers to combine earlier and faster than natural drying. Especially so with the sheer amount of greenness in crop stems these days. It’s an important tool in reducing agronomic risk.”