Effective Dock control in established Clover rich swards for silage and grazing systems

Dairy farmers can safely control Docks in their established Clover rich swards, improve grass DM/ha and achieve an average 8:1 return on investment by introducing a new tank mix from Nufarm to be launched at Dairy-Tech.

Field trials featuring Nufarm’s Agronomy Solution for weed control in Clover comprising low rate Agritox (MCPA) 1.5 L/ha + Squire Ultra 40g/ha applied to an established Ryegrass and Clover sward, resulted in 95% control of a heavy Dock infestation covering 20% of the field. Effective Chickweed control was also achieved.

“Despite a slight check, the majority of Clover was retained, it appeared healthy and was actively growing,” reports Nufarm’s Brent Gibbon. “Even when controlling a 10% Dock infestation, a 1t DM/ha yield improvement from a typical 10t DM/ha sward can be expected, resulting in increased grazing availability and stocking rates to deliver an 8:1 return on investment.”

He adds: “Dairy farmers remain cautious about applying herbicide to Clover rich swards as many standard grassland herbicides kill valued Clover which has the ability to annually fix up to 150kg N/ha,” he says. “In fact, an independent survey of 380 livestock farmers found that the majority considered retaining Clover in the crop as important yet their level of trust in Clover safe products was relatively low.

“Nufarm’s new tank mix will be a welcome Clover safe addition to the grassland management toolkit. The tank mix is also cost effective, however, achieving maximum levels of return on investment is linked to applying the herbicide at the right time – when the Dock rosettes are healthy and actively growing. Herbicides applied too early or too late will not work effectively if at all.”

Application to established grassland over one-year-old is advised from April to September through a conventional boom sprayer. Only a seven-day grazing interval after application is required, and where grass is to be cut for silage or hay, a minimum three week interval, preferably four weeks.