Carrot growers have been investigating new ways of protecting their crops against invasive weeds following the withdrawal of the herbicide linuron.
Growers attended a recent AHDB field trial in Yorkshire to find alternative means to protect carrot crops against the likes of fat-hen, fiddleneck and knotgrass. Treatments are currently being trialled on carrot and parsnip crops, including new actives and novel tank-mixes, some of which reportedly already appear promising.
The trials form part of SCEPTREplus, AHDB’s £1.4 million research programme, which focuses on developing sustainable solutions for growers across the country.
“With the loss of linuron, the future of weed control looked uncertain. However, the trials here are already looking very promising and show that there are alternative options, which may be available soon,” said Joe Martin, AHDB crop protection senior scientist.
“We are generating valuable data to aid decisions on taking products forward for approval for use on farms, developing knowledge that can be applied to keep the horticulture industry productive in the future. AHDB will continue to be at the forefront of investigating alternatives in the face of further changes to regulation.”
Several products were selected for inclusion in the trial, for their ability to target weeds identified by a panel of industry experts as being problematic. The weeds singled out were groundsel, mayweed, fool's parsley, bindweed, cranesbill and polyganums.
As part of the event, visitors were able to view the plots and see the results for themselves.
Commenting on the findings so far, ADAS plant pathology consultant Emily Lawrence said: “In total, we’re working with a number of products which are being tested at different application timings, either alone or in tank mixes with currently approved products.
“The trials have built upon previous years’ work and there are four being carried out on carrots and five on parsnips in 2019. At this stage, we’re seeing promising results with a post-emergence application of aclonifen, which we are working on to get approval. However, I wouldn’t say it’s at a point where it’s a direct replacement for linuron.”