Targeting wild oat applications in the spring can be particularly challenging for sprayer operators, according to Syngenta eastern counties application specialist, Harry Fordham, speaking at the recent LAMMA show.

He highlighted that there’s a wide application window for treatment with Syngenta's Axial Pro, which could present a range of scenarios for differing weed and crop sizes in the spring, but small grass weeds can also be difficult targets to hit and retain spray on the leaf, he pointed out.

Research and application trials at Syngenta Innovation Sites have identified three key factors to get right with wild oat control:

• Timing

• Application

• Product formulation

He advocated hitting weeds early to effectively remove competition before it has time to impact on the crop, pointing out that Axial Pro can be used from crop Growth Stage 11 (first leaf unfolded), right through to GS 39 (flag leaf emerged).

“At the early spring application timing, both the crop and the weeds are typically still small and the target is exposed and easy to hit,” he said. “However, there is the chance that not all the spring seeds will have germinated and later weeds could still emerge.

“If application is delayed and the crop goes into stem extension, the wild oats can be shielded by the larger crop and become more difficult to target with spray droplets. Where treatment is left until the crop is at flag leaf, the larger target wild oats are again easier to hit, but they could have already seriously impacted on yield.”

For early treatments, Mr Fordham advised the best application tips are to use the angled Syngenta 3D Nozzle with a water volume of 100 l/ha. However, as the crop gets larger, he suggested a switch to an Amistar Nozzle, again applying 100 l/ha water volume to better target weeds in the canopy.