Carrot growers review trials of linuron alternatives 

Plant disease experts and growers gathered in Yorkshire to review treatments currently being trialled on carrot and parsnip crops following the withdrawal of herbicide linuron.

Linuron protected crops against invasive weeds such as fat-hen, fiddleneck, and knotgrass.

including new actives and novel tank-mixes – some of which already appear promising.

The trials form part of SCEPTREplus, AHDB’s £1.4 million research programme, which focusses on developing sustainable solutions for growers across the country.

“With the loss of linuron, the future of weed control looked uncertain. However, the trials here are already looking very promising and show that there are alternative options, which may be available soon,” Joe Martin, AHDB crop protection senior scientist explained.

“We are generating valuable data to aid decisions on taking products forward for approval for use on farms, developing knowledge that can be applied to keep the horticulture industry productive in the future.

AHDB will continue to be at the forefront of investigating alternatives in the face of further changes to regulation.

Several products were selected for inclusion in the trial, for their ability to target some of the most problematic weeds identified by the panel of industry experts.

These weeds were groundsel, mayweed, fools parsley, bindweed, cranesbill and polyganums.

Commenting on the findings so far, ADAS plant pathology consultant Emily Lawrence, said: “In total, we’re working with a number of products which are being tested at different application timings, either alone or in tank mixes with currently approved products.

“The trials build upon previous years’ work with four [treatments] being tested on carrots and five on parsnip’s in 2019. At this stage, we’re seeing promising results with a post-emergence application of aclonifen, which we are working to get approval for.

“However, I wouldn’t say it’s at a point where it’s a direct replacement for linuron.”