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Trifluralin - The Vital Ingredient

Date Added: 19/02/2009

Trifluralin ceased to be sold on 20th September 2008; however stocks may be used up until 20th March 2009. This may still allow the herbicide to be used this spring as it is common for the herbicide to be applied well before the crop is drilled.

First registered by Eli Lily in the USA in 1963, trifluralin has been the mainstay of weed control in brassica crops in the UK ever since. While for some growers the fact that it needed to be incorporated into the seedbed pre-drilling was an extra job they could do without, virtually all growers depended on it to control a wide range of annual weeds including:

  • Fat Hen (Chenopodium album)
  • Knotgrass (Polygonum aviculare)
  • Black bindweed (Polygonum convolvulus)
  • Redshank (Polygonum persicaria).

These weeds cause havoc in spring oilseed rape samples as the weed is almost the same size as the crop and its presence, if over 4% by weight, can lead to rejection of the crop by the crusher.

In addition to the weeds mentioned above, this herbicide also controls annual meadow grass and black grass. This is an added bonus as control by any other means can be difficult.

Application

The trifluralin chemical is best incorporated twice. This should be within 30 minutes of being sprayed onto the soil with a second pass at right angles to the first pass, this is to prevent UV breakdown of the active. Alternatively a rotary cultivator set to run at 5cm deep can be used in order to incorporate in one pass.

It should be pointed out that some growers have applied a tank mix of:

  • Full rate Trifluralin
  • 0.5l l/ha Metazachlor
  • 0.2 l/ha of the ‘spreader' Grounded (from Agrovista) or Lowdown (from Masstock)

This was applied immediately after the crop had been drilled and rolled.

Weed Control

There are a range of broad leaved weed herbicides which include:

  • Metazachlor (Butisan etc)
  • Clopyralid (Dow shield etc)
  • Clopyralid + Picloram (Galera)
  • Clomazone (Centium)
  • as well as the contact Graminicides.

These will control most of the weeds in most situations. The herbicide table below gives an idea of the weeds controlled.

  *Trifluralin Metazachlor Shield Graminicides Galera Clomazone
Annual Meadow Grass S S        
Black Bindweed S          
Black-Grass S S   S    
Cleavers         S S
Common Chickweed S S        
Common Hemp Nettle S          
Dead Nettle   S        
Fat hen S          
Forget-me-not   S        
Henbit dead- nettle S          
Groundsel   S        
Knotgrass S          
Mayweeds   S S   S  
Pale Persicaria S          
Parsley Piert   S        
Redshank S          
Scarlet Pimpernel S          
Shepherds Purse   S        
Speedwell S S        
Thistles     S   S  
Wild Oats       S    

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