Show your new pasture some love

Show your new pasture some love

26 February 2018

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Sowing new grass is always a critical job in autumn but this year, with so many farms affected by poor pasture growth, getting new grass off to the best possible start is even more important than usual.

Strong, fast establishment means you don’t have to wait as long before new pasture is ready for its first grazing. That in turn will help speed up the job of getting your home-grown grass factory back to its true potential.

One simple change to your pasture renewal schedule can make a lot of difference: spray broadleaf weeds early, before the first full grazing, rather than after.

Many herbicides are available to kill weeds at different stages of new pasture establishment. But spraying early is still the gold standard, because this is when competition from weeds does the most damage to new grass.

Weed seeds germinate as quickly as grass and clover (often quicker) and suppress pasture seedling growth from day one. And if you lose potential dry matter (DM) yield from your newly-sown paddock at this stage, it’s gone for good.

Weeds tend to be smaller and more susceptible to herbicides so therefore are easier to control before the first full grazing.

Tribal® Gold is a premium treatment during this phase and is ideal where you want a broader weed spectrum and/or need to control hard-to-kill weeds like chickweed, shepherds purse and buttercup.

Thistrol Plus® has a narrower, more specific weed spectrum and is safe on clover. Dictate® 480 can also be useful for early weed control in new pastures, and is more effective on weeds like storksbill, chamomile and stinking mayweed, which the standard phenoxy options do not always control well.

Valdo® is particularly effective on chickweed and brassica weed species. It can be applied as soon as clovers reach two trifoliate leaves and is a good mixing partner for Thistrol Plus.

Optimal timing for Dictate® 480 is the same as for Thistrol Plus – i.e. when the clover has between one and two trifoliate leaves (approx. six weeks after sowing). They are good tank mix partners.

The best way to work out which herbicides are right for your new pasture is to get down on your hands and knees and check what weed species are coming through the ground. Some look similar so ask for help if you have any doubts – your Farm Source TSR can identify them or find someone who can. A fast, simple and effective way to do this is to take a photo on your smartphone and send it to your TSR.

Regardless of which herbicides they recommend, wait until there is at least 70 percent ground cover before spraying newly-sown pasture.

Research has shown when herbicides are applied to new pasture before grass, clover and weed seedlings have covered most of the soil area, pasture yields are reduced and clover populations compromised because the herbicide lands on the soil instead of foliage1.

1 Edmond D.R. Some effects of MCPB on establishing pastures: NZ Journal of Agricultural Research, Vol 1. No. 3, June 1958 ® Valdo, Dictate and Tribal are registered trademarks of Nufarm Limited. Baton and Thistrol are registered trademarks of Nufarm Australia Ltd.

For more information on choosing the right herbicide, talk to your Farm Source TSR today.

Article supplied by Nufarm