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04/01/2016 Adapt pesticide programmes to counteract warm weather

Arable farmers are being urged to re-assess their winter pesticide programmes in order to counteract the effects of an abnormally warm winter, with growers warned that the efficacy of some active ingredients might be undermined by the unseasonal conditions.

This year’s prolonged spell of warm winter weather has resulted in dramatically increased disease pressures across many parts of the UK,” explains Gemma Sparrow, Technical Specialist for ADAMA. “And it’s a double-whammy,” she warns, “as the high temperatures could mean that some pesticides are less effective than normal.

”With many actives being temperature sensitive, Gemma therefore urges farmers and agronomists to re-visit their existing pesticide programmes to ensure none of their proposed products are adversely affected.

“With a little time spent formulating a ‘plan B’, growers should still be able to adopt an effective protection plan,” Gemma explains. “For example, while it’s currently too warm for propyzamide to be effective against Black-grass, growers can use carbetamide instead.

”The cut-off date for carbetamide is 29th February 2016 and it can therefore still be used legally until that date.

“With many parts of the country seeing a second flush of Blackgrass coming through, Crawler, which contains 600 g/kg of carbetamide, is therefore the best product to use during what is turning out to be an abnormally warm winter,” Gemma continues.

Sprayer operators should also consider the impact of heavy rainfall, Miss Sparrow adds. “As well as the exceptionally warm weather, we’ve also witnessed some record breaking levels of rainfall. An important part of re-assessing this year’s pesticide plan should therefore involve an assessment of soil moisture levels and the susceptibility of pesticides to flushing.

“If in doubt, use ADAMA's WaterAware app to carry out a quick and easy assessment of the leaching risk. It’s free to download, quick to use and gives a simple ‘Yes or No’ guide with regard to the timing of spray and pellet applications and the potential risk to surface water.

”ADAMA's WaterAware app is available to download from Google Play for Android devices and the Apple Store for Apple devices.