UK: Promising weed-control alternative to fill gap when linuron is withdrawn

According to an AHDB press release issued today, early results from a four-year crop protection research project in the UK have identified metobromuron as having potential to fill the gap that will be left for many vegetable growers when the herbicide linuron is withdrawn from use in June 2018. Linuron has been a mainstay of potato production for the past 25 years, with 65% of ware crops receiving treatment according the 2014 Pesticide Usage Survey. Metobromuron is being tested to increase understanding of its use and performance as part of AHDB Horticulture-funded SCEPTREplus trials. Growers invited to view the trials in the summer also identified five further herbicide treatments that were considered acceptable with regard to crop safety and will now be taken forward for further testing. 

Angela Huckle, researcher at ADAS, said: “Metobromuron has performed well as an alternative to linuron in the SCEPTREplus trials, and although it can check the crop when compared to linuron, growers are perfectly happy with this when they can gain effective weed control, and the effect is very slight.”

Joe Martin, crop protection senior scientist said, The SCEPTREplus trials are already generating valuable data that we can now use to make applications to generate Extensions of Authorisations of Minor Use, which are vital in helping to keep the horticulture industry productive in the future”

Ian Holmes, company agronomist at Strawson Ltd. said, “Weed control has become more challenging with the loss of various active ingredients in the last few years, including metoxuron, pentanachlor and prometryn. In 2018 we will lose the use of linuron which has been a key component of both pre- and post-emergence weed control for many years and this will leave a big hole in the crop protection toolbox.

“The SCEPTREplus work allows independent assessment of a range of products at appropriate timings and sequences; allowing us to critically assess which options are worth taking forward.”

Growers can follow how the trials progress at horticulture.ahdb.org.uk/sceptreplus