It’s not too late to deal with weeds in new pasture

It’s not too late to deal with weeds in new pasture

26 March 2018

Removing broadleaf weeds soon after planting new grass and clover is one of the best things you can do to ensure autumn-sown pastures are ready to produce high dry matter (DM) yields by spring, when you need that feed to help get the next lactation off to a strong start.

From day one, weeds compete so aggressively with grass and clover seedlings that even when they’re still quite small, they can permanently affect new pasture productivity by reducing both dry matter (DM) yield and pasture quality.

If you couldn’t spray new pastures for broadleaf weeds earlier in the renewal process, don’t worry. At this time of the year there is still a good option to ensure those paddocks are clean and weed-free before winter slows plant growth rates.

By the time new pasture is due for its first grazing, usually four to six weeks after sowing, broadleaf weeds that have emerged in the paddock tend to be larger and more difficult to control. Baton is worth considering in these situations because it is more effective against bigger weed plants than common pre-grazing herbicides like Thistrol® Plus or Tribal® Gold.

Baton is a unique water-soluble granule formulation, with low odour. It is cost-effective and less damaging to valuable clovers than other 2,4-D formulations. Applied to new pastures after the first full grazing, Baton eradicates a broad spectrum of weeds including fathen, hedge mustard, nettles, shepherd’s purse, black nightshade, wild turnip, cresses, red root, thistles and many other harder to kill weeds.

Nufarm research1 comparing the actual plants present in sprayed vs unsprayed new pastures shows how early weed pressure can significantly affect pasture quality. Young pastures sprayed with Baton after the first full grazing produced 60 to 66 percent more clover DM and nine to 23 percent more grass DM than pastures not sprayed. Treated paddocks also showed significantly less weed DM, i.e. weed content was 70 to 80 percent less than untreated paddocks.

Taken in the context of your overall farm system, these numbers represent a significant opportunity to maximise the performance of a key feed source (pasture) while making more efficient and profitable use of your existing resources (land and cows).

Apply one to 1.5 kilograms per hectare (kg/ha) of Baton, three days to one week after the first full grazing in 200 litres (L) per ha of water. Paddocks must be grazed prior to spraying. Grazing exposes the weeds and reduces much of clover leaf, reducing herbicide uptake by the clover and minimising damage.

Baton is absorbed through the foliage and translocated to the growing points so it is important to get complete coverage. Within reason, higher water rates tend to give better results. Although there is no prescribed withholding period after spraying with Baton, grazing should be delayed for approximately 14 days as early grazing may reduce the level of weed control.

1 NUNZ0410: Effect of Baton on Drymatter Production and Clover Content of New Pasture- Mid Canterbury.
® Baton, Thistrol are registered trademarks of Nufarm Australia Limited.

Talk to the team at your Fonterra Farm Source store today to find out how Baton can protect your investment in new pasture.

Article supplied by Nufarm NZ