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Rural Diary
1 October 2016 External Supplier

Weed and pest control in beets

A good fodder beet crop is an excellent source of quality, cost effective dry matter. Protecting your investment in preparing and sowing down the paddock can be done by following a few simple steps.

Multiple application programmes are recommended for both weed and pest control. Plan for one pre-emergence application followed by at least two post-emergence applications if weeds continue to germinate. This will control each strike of emerging weeds and maintain an effective layer of residual herbicide in the soil to help delay the next strike.

Tank mixing of beet selective herbicides is recommended to improve the spectrum of weeds controlled. If an application is delayed by weather or other factors, rates need to be increased.

Key points for successful weed control in beets:

  1. Paddock selection is critical as beet is a high input, high yielding crop. Prior planning and management help minimise the weed seed burden in the soil. Identifying suitable beet paddocks well in advance is important to eliminate difficult weeds prior to sowing. A programmed approach is required to control rhizomatous and stoloniferous rooted plants such as couch, Californian thistle and yarrow.
  2. Apply a pre-emergence treatment after sowing and before the crop or weeds have emerged. For best results, apply to moist soil with rainfall or use overhead irrigation soon after application to incorporate the herbicides into the soil surface.
  3. For post-emergence applications, treatment at the cotyledon stage of the weeds is the most important factor for maintaining effective weed control. Larger weeds become progressively harder to control. Walk paddocks regularly and look closely to check if there has been a recent strike of weeds. For high organic matter soils (over 10 percent OM), use post-emergence treatments only. Start as soon as the crop has reached cotyledon stage and the first strike of weeds are visible. Repeat after each new strike of weeds.
  4. Tank mixes are recommended for broad spectrum weed control for both pre and post-emergence applications.
    Two approaches can be used:
    > A low-dose programme uses lower rates applied at closer intervals (7-10 days) to improve crop tolerance and where the factors mentioned below are not normally an issue. This programme is less common and used more in horticultural situations such as red beet.
    > The most common and recommended programme uses slightly higher rates applied at longer intervals (12-21 days). This helps reduce the number and cost of applications if weather, wind, and timely access to spray equipment is an issue. This programme provides the greatest flexibility with your farming operation.

Selecting Goltix® and Goltix Uno from Adama as your backbone to both programmes, gives you a performance certainty that comes from years of local and global experience and on-going research into the best possible options for protecting fodder beet crops.

To discuss a tailored weed and pest control programme, contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative.

Supplied by Adama

External Supplier

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A new option for pre-emergent weed control in brassicas

01 October 2016

Early weed control helps your brassica crop get off to a solid start and offers the best chance to increase yields.

Weeds can quickly over run a crop, competing for light, nutrients, moisture and space. Weeds are most competitive early in a crop’s life, when more gaps exist for weeds to fill. Even moderate weed populations can reduce yields significantly. Weed control in brassicas is important as it increases crop yields and removes problem weeds from a paddock to benefit subsequent crops and new pastures establishment. 

Prevention is often better than cure when it comes to control of grass and broadleaf weeds. Choosing an appropriate herbicide, ensuring that correct application techniques are used and that potential soil residues are considered as part of the planned crop rotation are all part of this process.

Ombré®, from Zelam, is a new post-plant, pre-emergent herbicide specifically developed for forage brassicas including rape, kale, swedes and turnips. It has an extensive list of weeds that it controls including fathen, black nightshade, shepherd’s purse, spurrey, chickweed, redroot, and grounsel (see label for full list of susceptible and suppressed weeds). Several trials have shown improved crop yields when Ombré is used as demonstrated in the graph below.

Its two active ingredients have complimentary modes of action. Alachlor is mainly absorbed by emerging shoots and translocated throughout the weed, while Clomazone is absorbed by the roots and shoots and translocates upwards in the plant. These active ingredients have been micro-encapsulated using Zelams encaps® formulation technology. Microencapsulation allows for greater control over the release of the active ingredient through the precise size, wall thickness, and porosity of the microcapsule that is produced. 

Ombré provides short term residual weed control. As the two active ingredients do not persist in the soil for an undue length of time, there will generally be no residual issues when planting following crops such as fodder beet, peas, or clover. If there is a crop failure within two months however, only re-sow another brassica. 

Application recommendations:

  • For best results, application should be made as soon as possible after planting and before the crop comes through the ground. Ombré can also be lightly soil incorporated prior to planting. 
  • Soil conditions are a critical factor. The seed bed should be fine and firm, avoiding clods and trash. Reasonable soil moisture is required and rain fall or irrigation after application is ideal. Consider soil incorporation before planting if conditions are expected to be dry. If soil incorporating, use a high rate of herbicide. Avoid using Ombré in light soils (CEC < 10) and on heavy or high organic matter soils (CEC > 30) and use the post-emergence herbicide Pycus® in these situations. If used on light soils with minimal rainfall, ploughing prior to the next crop should be considered. 
  • In certain conditions, some transient whitening of the crop may occur. This is temporary and has no effect on yield.
  • Ombré should not be mixed with glyphosate based herbicides.

For more information on how Ombré can get your crop off to a solid start and reach maximum yield potential, contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative.

Article supplied by Zelam

Managing foliar diseases in fodder beet

01 December 2016

The substantial growth of fodder beet plantings has come with higher incidences of foliar diseases in the popular crop.

The leaves are a valuable protein source when fodder beet is fed to stock. Foliar diseases not only reduce the palatability of the leaves, but will reduce crop yields. Maintaining green leaf retention and quality maximises the protein feed potential of crops.

Escolta®, a new product from Bayer Crop Science this season, is a highly effective fungicide for the control of foliar diseases in fodder and sugar beet crops. A co-formulation of two active ingredients, Escolta controls the most common foliar diseases seen in New Zealand beet crops such as powdery mildew, beet rust, cercospora and ramularia leaf spots. Escolta, through  controlling these diseases, maximises green leaf retention and provides physiological benefits that improve greening and yield.

Foliar diseases in beet crops usually start to appear when, or soon after the crop canopy closes in. The first Escolta application should be applied as soon as any disease is observed in the crop. The best results are seen when Escolta is used as disease first becomes active in the crop and before disease becomes established.

A second application can be applied 3 to 4 weeks later to maintain maximum length of protection. The use rate is 350 mL/ha with a maximum of two applications of Escolta allowed per season. Escolta can be applied as a ground or aerial application.

For ground application a water rate of 200 litres per hectare and for aerial application, 80 litres per hectare are recommended. Ensure good spray coverage of the crop leaves. The withholding period for Escolta is 42 days. Ensure that Escolta treated crops are not fed to stock until 42 days after the last application.

“Trials conducted in New Zealand have demonstrated the effectiveness of Escolta against rust and powdery mildew” says Lovisa Eriksson, Bayer Product Development Manager. “In the trials, two applications gave superior efficacy over a single application” adds Lovisa.

Contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative if you need help identifying a foliar disease on your fodder beet crop and finding the most suitable fungicide.

Supplied by Bayer Crop Science

Good planning key to success with fodder beet

01 August 2017

Feeding fodder beet to R2 heifers and R2 steers on their sheep and beef property, Philip and Alexander Holt of Napier are into their second season using this crop and are rapt with the results.

The versatility of fodder beet makes it an attractive forage option in many farming systems throughout New Zealand. Predominantly a high yielding feed for wintering dairy cows, farmers such as Philip and Alexander are now successfully using beet to put liveweight gain onto beef cattle. Fodder beet can also play a role in holding body condition of dairy cows on the shoulders of the milking season, and has been used effectively within the beef, sheep, goat and deer industries.

Philip and Alexander feed R2 home breed Angus steers on an 8 ha beet crop and have had good results. Focusing on getting the inputs right for their crop, Philip strongly advocates for making a plan and getting the timings right to get a quality crop. “Don’t cut corners, follow your plan well and focus on using exactly what is required to achieve your targets,” explains Philip.

It all starts with a well prepared and consolidated seedbed. If you can get this right and obtain an even plant establishment, weed control becomes much easier when the beet is at a similar growth stage. Precision sowing their preferred Agricom variety fodder beet at 50 cm row spacing in October 2016, Philip and Alexander have found the crop to have good tolerance in the hot and windy January and February conditions. Yielding approximately 27 T in mid to late May this year, these conditions have been a positive for the pair.

The R2s are all killed off fodder beet and some lines of Angus steers achieved growth rates of above 1.8 kg/head/day last season. Philip and Alexander have a well-planned use of lucerne balage, and as part of their robust planning process, take the time to calculate stock intake and what would be required to achieve their high growth rate targets. “We target the schedule at peak time for better returns” explains Philip. "We feed supplements out in the paddocks versus in the racks as we find this is more efficient and gets an equal diet to more animals.”

During the transition phase Philip and Alexander fed the baleage out in strips on the runoff ‘night’ paddock. Now that the cattle are transitioned they are on the fodder beet paddock all the time, and the baleage is fed out in strips on the grazed fodder beet standing area just before the new daily break of fodder beet is opened. “We keep an eye on feeding habits and condition, and if and when required we will also install basic roughage in holders in the paddock to allow extra ad lib fibre,” explains Philip, “we believe that we get better utilisation of baleage using this method.”

Learnings from last season’s 32 T crop has meant that this season, the brothers take the stock off the paddock in adverse weather to prevent pugging and reduce potential damage to the soil structure. Good planning for fodder beet includes ensuring time to plan paddock crop rotations. Considering these help support the long term use and success of fodder beet crops by minimising the risk of soil born disease build up, paddock contamination from old bulb chips or bolting fodder beet plants that could set viable seed.

In many cases, a rotation of four or more years is advised and if the rotation length is shorter between crops, care must be taken to ensure the roguing of bolting beet plants. For the last few years the true effect of bolters has been overlooked by many in the sector and their relevancy underestimated. If bolting plants are not removed or destroyed before they complete their life cycle, they can produce up to 6,000 seeds per plant, which can fall to the ground and potentially remain viable over several years. There is the risk that bad cases prevent future fodder beet plantings in those effected paddocks as re-seeded beet establishes at very high populations, and herbicides used in your sown beet crop does not control re-seeded beet, resulting in severe suppression of yield.

For more information on integrating fodder beet in your system, talk to your local PGG Wrightson representative.

Supplied by Agricom

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