Knowledge Hub Article

Wheat herbicide spend escalates


The average winter wheat herbicide spend recorded in the latest Monsanto study of almost 400 farms with over 150,000 ha of arable cropping is currently £89/ha, with a third spending over £100/ha and more than one in every 10 over £125/ha (Figure 1).

Unsurprisingly perhaps, herbicide spend is closely related both to the proportion of winter cereals area on which black-grass is a problem and the extent and severity of black-grass resistance.

Growers with the most widespread black-grass problems are spending an average of £106/ha compared to £63/ha for those with few, if any, problems (Figure 2).  In the same way, growers experiencing serious or very serious resistance problems are spending around £101/ha on herbicides against £72/ha for those with slight or no resistance problems.

In Black-grass control, in particular, the study shows that growers establishing their winter cereals with some form of reduced tillage are relying to a much greater extent on chemistry than those with plough-based systems. This is especially the case with pre-planting, autumn pre-emergence and autumn post-emergence treatment.

On average, they are employing 2.7 sprays at a cost of £91/ha
compared to 1.9 and £74/ha for those using the plough.  Over four in every 10 growers relying on minimum tillage, indeed, is spending £100/ha or more on winter cereal herbicides. This compares with less than two in every 10 of those with plough-based establishment.