Getting rid of problem weeds in brassica crops is essential to eliminate competition for water and nutrients and to enable your crop to thrive. A simple weed management system that does exactly this is the Cleancrop™ Brassica System - a seed and herbicide package that controls weeds at the time of sowing.
The system is unique because the Cleancrop cultivars are bred for tolerance to the broad spectrum herbicide Telar®, which can’t be used with conventional brassicas, and enables excellent weed control.
A great example of effective weed elimination is on Owl Farm, the demonstration farm at St Peter’s School in Cambridge, Waikato. Established as a demonstration farm in 2014, Owl Farm is a joint venture partnership between St Peter’s School and Lincoln University. The farm is now proudly supported by seven demonstration partners including PGG Wrightson Seeds and Farm Source.
Owl Farm used Cleancrop bulb turnip for the first time last summer after a system change from chicory to brassicas. The goal was to grow bulk quality feed for cows over January and February while pasture was relatively low in feed quality. Secondary objectives included cleaning up paddocks of problem weeds prior to sowing new pastures in autumn. Cleancrop bulb turnip was planted alongside Barkant® turnip and Cleancrop rape, using different maturity dates to spread the quality of feed over the summer.
Cleancrop bulb turnip had an impressive yield of 13 tonnes (t) of dry matter (DM) per hectare (ha), a significant increase in yield compared to conventional turnips. Tom Buckley, Farm Manager at Owl Farm, puts the advantage down to the absence of weed burden for establishing plants, despite a very challenging spring. "The crops experienced intense heat during last November, so the lack of competition from weeds for moisture and nutrients gave it a good head start," says Tom.
Crops at Owl Farm are all direct drilled. Louise Cook, Demonstration Manager at Owl Farm, says: "Direct drilling didn’t compromise yield in any way, shape or form, to the point we would only direct drill crops now - meaning we can ensure the protection of our soil structure, particularly on the shallow friable soils."
An accidental drill miss proved to be a valuable lesson for Tom and Louise. Even after canopy closure, weed control in a drill miss area was still evident, proving just how effective the weed control had been on some of their most competitive weeds. While brassicas are an important part of the summer feed programme, they are also a helpful tool for cleaning up paddocks and preparing them for new pastures. "The quick turnaround for clover plant-back is crucial for the diverse pastures we need planted by early autumn," says Tom.
Talk with your Farm Source TSR for further information on how the Cleancrop™ Brassica System can benefit your crops.
Cleancrop™ is a registered trademark of PGG Wrightson Seeds