“I WAS spraying every year but still had dirty hay and silage swards. I was also getting stunting of the grass after spraying which damaged yields.
“Since I started using Envy and PastorTrio, I get clean swards the following year and there is no stunting of the grass.”
These are the views of Stephen O’Grady who changed from cheaper sprays to the two new herbicides Envy and PastorTrio two years ago.
Stephen runs a baling contracting business at Turnings, Straffan, Co Kildare. He also saves a substantial amount of haylage and hay on rented land for sale to stud farms and riding schools in the area.
He has a regular and loyal group of customers. However, they are also demanding with regard to quality. They want clean, weed-free hay and haylage.
When the translocated herbicide Envy was launched on the market two years ago, Stephen was among the first users.
Containing the two potent active ingredients fluroxypyr and florasulam, it is powerful on docks, common chickweed, dandelions, buttercups and daisies. It is also highly effective on a range of other weeds includin plantain and mouse-eared chickweed. It also has the big advantage of not having any stunting effect on grass growth.
Stephen had previously used hormone-based herbicides on his rented meadows. As well as not giving effective weed control, he experienced a distinct stunting of the grass after spraying.
A classic example was a 34-acre field he had been renting for a number of years. One year he got 570 bales of haylage off the field. The following year, he sprayed it with a hormone-based herbicide a few weeks before cutting.
Grass growth was severely checked resulting in a yield of just 440 bales, a drop of 130 on the previous year. There was no change in fertiliser levels and no difference in grass growth patterns.
He also used products containing fluroxypyr as the only ingredient. There was poor control of the weeds the following year.
Where thistles are also among the weed population in a sward, Stephen uses PastorTrio. Another recently introduced herbicide, as well as containing fluroxypyr and florasulam, the two active ingredients found in Envy, it also contains clopyralid.
PastorTrio is powerful on the same range of weeds as Envy but has the added advantage of killing thistles. It should be applied at two litres/ha in a minimum of 200l of water to silage/hay swards and permanent pasture. As with Envy, it does not have any negative impact on grass growth.
Best results are got from Envy and Pastor Trio by spraying when weeds are actively growing and are at the right growth stage for an effective kill.
In silage/hay swards, the best time to spray is two to four weeks after fertiliser is applied, when weeds should be at the perfect stage for an effective kill. The following is a good rule of thumb for the ideal growth stages of some of the main weeds:
When spraying with Envy or PastorTrio, it is important to wait at least three weeks before cutting hay or silage. This ensures that the chemicals get fully translocated to the root system of the weeds, a vital factor in long-term control. Stephen O’Grady cites ease of saving hay as another big advantage of having a clean sward.
He reckons he can bale clean grass a day earlier than grass which is infested with weeds.
“SPRAYING weed-infested paddocks with Envy over the coming weeks will pay handsomely and will ensure more nutritious and more productive grazing swards,” said Chris Maughan, technical manager with Whelehan Crop Protection which distributes the product on the Irish market.
“Because Envy poses no risks with residues in manure, it is ideally suited to horse paddocks. This is why it is rapidly becoming the herbicide of choice on equine farms,” added Chris.
He said that best control is achieved by spraying before weeds reach the flowering stage. Where weeds are beyond these stages, his advice is to top the paddock when conditions are suitable and apply Envy after around three weeks regrowth when the weeds have regrown to the ideal stage for an effective kill.
“It should be applied at two litres/ha in a minimum of 200 litres of water. A huge advantage is that Envy can be applied up to the end of November. This makes it especially suited to pastures reseeded in the autumn.
FOR spot treating nettles and other troublesome weeds at railings, ditches and hedges, GrazonPro is the perfect product.
Containing two powerful root killing ingredients – triclopyr and clopyralid – it is powerful on a wide range of weeds including nettles, thistles, docks, buttercups, brambles, gorse, cow parsley and hogweed.
It should be applied at a rate of 60 ml in 10 litres of water using a conventional knapsack sprayer, a quadbike sprayer or a suitable lance on a tractor mounted sprayer. Keep animals off treated areas for seven days.
GrazonPro is powerful on nettles and other weeds at fences and ditches
GrazonPro is also an ideal spot treatment where weed infestations across paddocks are 5% or less. As with Envy, best control is achieved where weeds are sprayed before the flowering stage.