Grassland weed control potentially could help livestock farmers cut the concentrate bill at turn out next spring, to achieve a return on investment (ROI) of 5:1 and contribute towards Brexit proofing the business.

A recent livestock farmer survey by Nufarm, highlighted that late summer weed control was a consideration for just one third of livestock farmers looking to achieve more grass and more profit. However, when asked if they would make an application in the forthcoming weeks in an attempt to curb this season’s dock invasion, then the intentions increased to 50% of farmers surveyed.

Lack of awareness of the benefits of late seasonal practice were cited by 50% of all grassland farmers – approximately 27% had not considered the approach, whilst 16% hadn’t budgeted.

According to grassland consultant, Dr George Fisher, every 1% increase in weed ground cover will result in a 1% decrease in grass growth, consequently controlling common weeds in a grazing sward with a current 20% dock infestation could result in improved spring yields from 7t DM/ha to 8.5t DM/ha enabling improved grazing availability and subsequently more milk from grass for dairy farmers, as well as suckler producers and ewes with youngstock at foot.

The benefits from using extra grass to replace more expensive bought in feeds will provide a 5:1 return on investment (ROI), said Dr Fisher.

Nufarm Scottish agronomy manager, Iain Allan reports trial results reflecting the impact of late summer weed control at Gelli Aur College, Carmarthenshire. A 20% dock infestation in a silage sward was treated with 2,4-D + dicamba (Thrust) in September 2018 resulting in a 95% weed control for the following spring.