Fodder beet rewards careful agronomic programme

28 September 2017

Fodder beet continues to go from strength to strength as a valuable supplementary feed crop, and with good reason. It combines high quality, high yields and high utilisation for excellent animal performance.

The secret to achieving optimal results with fodder beet lies in a careful agronomic programme that starts well before the seed actually goes into the ground.

Nufarm NZ product manager Duncan Ibbotson says it’s worth drawing up a detailed crop management plan early on. “If you look after your fodder beet from the very start of the cropping process, in return it will look after you with great production.”

A critical first step is to make sure the paddocks ear-marked for fodder beet this spring have not been previously sprayed with any herbicides that will affect crop establishment.

Fodder beet seed is highly sensitive to a wide range of commonly used active ingredients and plantback periods are becoming more challenging as larger areas of beet are sown each year. A full paddock history is essential; some chemicals can affect fodder beet establishment up to two years after being applied to previous crops.

If you’re planning to sow fodder beet into paddocks of existing run-out or damaged pasture, Duncan says it’s important to thoroughly spray out, using WeedMaster® TS540 plus Pulse® Penetrant (with appropriate companion herbicides where required, depending on the weed species present).

For pre-emergence control of difficult weeds such as shepherd’s purse, wireweed, chickweed and cleavers, Director® CS applied after planting but before crop emergence can be a useful addition to the spray programme.

A key benefit is this formulation remains effective in the root zone four to six weeks after application, depending on how much moisture is available.

Post-crop emergence, Betasana Trio® will provide all-important early control of potentially costly weeds such as chickweed, fathen and amaranthus. Mixing partners as needed include Metafol® SC to boost weed spectrum and Archer® (for yarrow and thistles).

“Following the launch of Betasana Trio last spring, we’ve seen a lot of confidence building up for this product. Farmers particularly like its combination of excellent crop safety and robust weed control, plus the flexibility of being able to add or remove Metafol depending on the weed spectrum present,” says Duncan.

Betasana Trio contains three active ingredients (ethofumesate, phenmedipham and desmedipham) and provides the widest spectrum of post-emergence weed control in New Zealand beet crops, with 29 key annual weed species on the label.

Duncan says effective insect control during the growing season also has a significant impact on final fodder beet crop yield. Attack® is registered for use in fodder beets against springtails, leaf miner, Nysius, aphids and Argentine stem weevil.

Kaiso® 50WG has a claim for cutworm control and is the only synthetic pyrethroid insecticide registered for use in fodder beet. Both Attack and Kaiso can be safely tank mixed with Betasana Trio and Metafol.

For more advice on the best weed and pest control strategies for your fodder beet this season, talk to your local Fonterra Farm Source TSR or call into your local store today.

® WeedMaster and Kaiso are registered trademarks of Nufarm Limited. Archer is a registered trademark of Nufarm Australia Ltd. Pulse and Attack are registered trademarks of Nufarm Technologies USA Pty Ltd. Betasana Trio and Metafol are registered trademarks of UPL Limited.

Article supplied by Nufarm