Irish Examiner - Farming - - NEWS -

Avoid any poach­ing, over­graz­ing or dam­age to grass swards.

What other grass­land man­age­ment prac­tices will limit rushes in­fes­ta­tion?

>> Fre­quent top­ping, timely fer­til­i­sa­tion, ap­pli­ca­tion of lime along with good drainage will all help limit the spread of rushes.

What’s the best method of chem­i­cal con­trol?

>> Whether you are lick­ing or spray­ing, top­ping three weeks in ad­vance is ad­vised, to pro­mote fresh green re­growth ca­pa­ble of tak­ing in the her­bi­cide.

This also helps weaken the food re­serves within the plant. Re­move any mown rushes be­fore spray­ing.

Soft rush can be con­trolled with MCPA or 2, 4-D ap­plied in June or July, when growth con­di­tions are good.

A wet­ting agent can im­prove the spray stick­ing to the slen­der rush ‘tar­get’. These sprays will stunt grass growth and dam­age or kill white clover. I’m in the GLAS scheme, with some fields/parcels as low in­put per­ma­nent pas­ture. There are a lot of rushes com­ing up, what’s the best con­trol method?

>> Spray­ing of rushes is not per­mit­ted on land parcels on farms par­tic­i­pat­ing in the GLAS scheme who have cho­sen to un­der­take the low in­put per­ma­nent pas­ture or the tra­di­tional hay meadow op­tion in this scheme. Boom spray­ing with her­bi­cides will dam­age the grass­land plant species present in the sward. This could re­sult in a penalty un­der cross com­pli­ance.

Spray­ing is not per­mit­ted in any SAC ar­eas.

Rushes can be con­trolled by top­ping af­ter July 15. Con­sult your GLAS Plan­ner if con­sid­er­ing any con­trol of rushes in land parcels in­volved in the GLAS scheme. Spot treat­ment is per­mit­ted in these GLAS ar­eas.

There has been a lot of pub­lic­ity about MCPA re­cently, with the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency threat­en­ing to take it off the mar­ket, why is this? >> In re­cent months, high lev­els of MCPA have been found in some drinking wa­ter sources (drinking wa­ter sources can be ground­wa­ter or sur­face wa­ter). MCPA is very sol­u­ble, so it can travel eas­ily in wa­ter­logged ar­eas or wa­ter bod­ies. Wa­ter will al­ways find wa­ter.

MCPA lev­els are based on EU mon­i­tor­ing lev­els. When us­ing this her­bi­cide, fol­low man­u­fac­turer’s in­struc­tions and rec­om­mended rates care­fully. Sug­gested tips if ap­ply­ing MCPA in­clude:

Don’t ap­ply if the soil is wa­ter logged.

Don’t ap­ply un­less the grass and rushes are dry. Don’t ap­ply if rain is fore­cast.

Avoid windy days where spray drift could spread into wa­ter­courses.

Keep back an ad­e­quate buf­fer zone dis­tance from wa­ter­courses and wa­ter bod­ies.

What are buf­fer zones, and how do they ap­ply to MCPA?

>> When spray­ing rushes with a boom sprayer, you can­not spray within 5m of any wa­ter bod­ies or dry drains.

Are there gen­eral pre­cau­tions for us­ing her­bi­cides to con­trol rushes?

>> Read the prod­uct la­bel care­fully and fol­low rec­om­mended rates.

Spray in the cool of evening or early morn­ing, to avoid scorch­ing of grass. Avoid graz­ing sprayed ar­eas for 10 days af­ter spray­ing. Triple rinse the empty con­tainer, and put the wash­ings into the sprayer and spray this onto grass­land.

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