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With dry, breezy conditions forecast for much of the country, Bayer is reminding arable farmers to be ready to apply Atlantis WG (mesosulfuron & iodosulfuron) to combat black-grass as soon as conditions allow.

The current weather conditions are drying field surfaces out, so land may be suitable for travel earlier than expected according to Darren Adkins of Bayer. “I’m starting to get calls about using Atlantis, so people are thinking about getting out there and spraying – if we don’t have any significant rain then sprayers might be out by the end of the week.”

But ground conditions aren’t the only thing to think about; “the strong wind is a benefit for drying out the land but we will need it to ease off when it is time for the sprayer – so be ready to spray to take advantage of any suitable breaks in the weather,” says Mr Adkins.

Independent agronomist Luke Cotton shares Darren’s optimism and thinks that we might be able to spray sooner than expected which will be good news for the whole crop protection programme.

“The longer we have to leave it, the bigger black-grass gets which does not help with the efficacy. Also, if things are delayed until March then herbicides will clash with the T0 timing,” explains Mr Cotton.

“With Atlantis, I try to be selective, I don’t want to complicate things with a mixture in the tank. I prefer to keep herbicide and fungicide sprays separate because you’re not limited on what products you can use – you just spray what is best for the job,” explains Mr Cotton. He adds that even though black-grass is usually the main target, you should factor in the control of wild oats, brome and rye-grass.

Bayer’s own research supports Mr Cotton’s approach; the best results are achieved when you apply Atlantis WG + biopower alone, or with a residual partner such as 0.3 L/Ha of Liberator (flufenacet & diflufenican) where further germination is anticipated. Mixing with additional products can increase the risk of crop damage and in some cases shave a few percent off the efficacy, which can equate to tens of thousands of black-grass seeds across a whole field.

“Grab any opportunity you can to spray,” urges Darren Adkins, “but don’t compromise too much on conditions – the most important thing is that there is a good drying window of at least two hours so the Atlantis becomes rainfast.”