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Growers of winter-sown oilseed rape could cut £34 ($70) million off their spray bills by not using uneconomic weedkillers, according to a recent British research review on oilseed crops.
It was found that control of broad-leaved weeds in rape is rarely economically justifiable. Grass weeds and volunteer cereals are more competitive, but many growers over-insure with their control methods for, when the crop has vigorous early growth, it competes easily with other plants.
Although chemical control for most weeds is available, yield improvement from control often does not match the cost of treatment, the review states. Low dose rates, aimed at suppressing the growth of weeds, rather than killing them, could be a practical compromise. Research shows that spraying with less than 40% of recommended doses of some herbicides can give acceptable control depending on the weeds present.
Spring-sown sunflowers and oilseed rape were also found to grow vigorously after establishment, and weed control is often unnecessary. Linseed, however, is not competitive and is vulnerable to tall weeds such as fat hen, mayweeds and charlock.
Source: London Press Service
Copyright © 1992 REAP Canada.
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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