Getting the best from Betanal maxxPro

Edward Hagues and Roger Bradbury of the Bayer roots technical team outline some of the considerations that should influence herbicide choice in sugar beet.

Sugar beet is one of the few crops that supports a wide range of effective grass and broadleaved weed control options. Even for more difficult weeds, the pre- and post-emergence options are far from limited.

Despite an impressive array of products, there are several issues to consider, such as application timing and tank-mix compatibility; both of which can influence performance. Certain phenmedipham formulations, for example, require the addition of an adjuvant oil to boost performance, but the contribution to improved herbicide effectiveness must first be balanced with the increased risk of crop damage.

The greatest consideration, however, is perhaps crop safety. Sugar beet is easily stressed by herbicide applications. While it may be an obvious statement to make, weeds are generally more susceptible when rapidly growing and soil moisture levels are good.

In practice, however, unfavourable weather or higher priority work elsewhere on the farm may limit the opportunities to apply herbicides during this time. This can prompt the use of so-called ‘hot mixes’. Often applied to control large weeds when earlier opportunities were missed or failed to deliver the desired level of control, hot mixes can check plant growth at what is a vital time.

In contrast, a mix of Betanal maxxPro (desmedipham + ethofumesate + lenacil + phenmedipham) and Goltix (metamitron) delivers excellent residual and post-emergence control while being kind to the young crop. The same cannot be said for other products or tank-mix combinations.

Environmental stresses too, such as fluctuating temperatures or extreme temperatures can check the crop.

In contrast, cool and breezy conditions increase the wax layers on beet leaves which reduces the chances of crop damage. Unfortunately, weed leaves benefit too, making them harder to control. Having a herbicide with a formulation that spreads across the leaf and more effectively penetrates this layer is important.

While the range of herbicide options may be impressive compared with other crops, the list of those that offer reliable control of a broad spectrum of weeds with good crop safety is short. As a straight or in a programme, Betanal maxxPro consistently delivers superior performance.

Top tips for getting the best from Betanal maxxPro

  • Apply evenly and overall as a fine spray;
  • Reduce the risk of drift by moderating forward speed, and never more than 12kph.