RECENT cold, wet weather has extended winter housing periods and will delay turnout of livestock in many places. When the weather does warm up, grass and perennial weeds such as docks will grow quickly. Large infestations should be sprayed at least three weeks before first cut silage and farmers are urged to get ready now.
“April is usually the perfect time to tackle docks growing in crops destined to become silage. Spray at least three weeks before the forager goes in to allow a good and thorough weed kill,” explains Andy Bailey, principal biologist for Dow AgroSciences.
“The docks must be actively growing and dinner-plate sized. If the docks are too small uptake of herbicide will not be as good as it should be.”
Mr Bailey advises farmers to walk the fields to see where the worst weed infestations are. Then decide how to tackle them, either with a specific herbicide such as DoxstarPro for docks, which will also kill chickweed and dandelions, or a broad-spectrum spray such as the Pas.Tor Agronomy pack. Buy and have the products delivered on farm and book the contractor if one is used.
“As soon as conditions come right, farmers must be prepared to go out and spray their silage ground to give the herbicide the longest time possible to translocate down into the roots to deliver a lasting kill. Grass will quickly colonise the bare patches left by the dead docks and then the grassland’s full potential can be realised.”