Herbicide launch extends lucerne husbandry toolkit

Herbicide launch extends lucerne husbandry toolkit

1 October 2020

Farmers looking to optimise the longevity and health of their lucerne stands have a new weed control option available this season, with the launch of Debut® from Nufarm.

With lucerne continuing to fill a valuable feed niche on many farms, both irrigated and dryland growers have become increasingly aware of the importance of good husbandry in maintaining the productive life of their stands, says technical specialist Cynthia Christie.

“Lucerne’s a really useful crop in many respects, but one thing it won’t tolerate is weed competition".

“All stands need to be renewed at some stage because the plants are self-thinning. The difference between having to spray out and replace the stand sooner rather than later, however, usually comes down to the level of weed control from establishment onwards".

“Keeping weeds out from the start can add years to the life of a stand, not to mention maintaining high forage quality.”

As well as competing with lucerne, weeds can also harbour insect pests. Containing 500 grams per litre (g/L) of 2,4-DB dimethylamine salt (Group O1), Debut is a phenoxy herbicide and was introduced to meet market demand and registered in late 2019.

It joins Valdo® 800WG, Kyte™ and Dictate® 480 to extend the company’s range of foliar selective products available for lucerne. Cynthia says as well as both new and established lucerne, Debut is also approved for control of broadleaf weeds in new pasture.

Labelled weeds include annual buttercups, cresses, fathen, hedge mustard, plantains, red root, shepherd’s purse, annual thistles, ragwort, docks and wireweed.

The active ingredient in Debut, 2,4-DB, is an inactive form of the phenoxy molecule. After spraying onto weeds, it must first be converted into 2,4-D, then into the active 2,4-D acid.

For this reason, Debut is best applied when weeds are small and actively growing, Cynthia says.

Timing is important for crop safety. Newly sown lucerne sprayed post-emergence must have at least one, or preferably two, trifoliate leaves before application, and the same applies to young clover plants in new pasture.

Where ground cover is less than 50 percent, Cynthia advises growers to wait until there’s more vegetation, to reduce the possibility of Debut being absorbed into the roots of the crop.

For established lucerne, growers should heavy graze prior to application to remove leaf tissue and minimise crop suppression.

Label application rates are 4.8-6.4L per hectare (L/ha), and the withholding period is one day. However, Cynthia notes that poisonous plants like ragwort and tutu may become more palatable after spraying, meaning livestock should be kept away until they’ve died down.

Debut can be tank-mixed with Dictate 480 to extend the range of weeds species you can control, and it can be applied using conventional ground or aerial spray equipment.

It comes in 20L packs and qualifies for Agrecovery.

For more information, contact your local Farm Source TSR today.

™ Kyte is a trademark of Nufarm Australia Ltd
®Debut is a registered trademark of Nufarm Australia Ltd
®Dictate and Valdo are registered trademark of Nufarm Ltd

Article supplied by Nufarm