A new Extension of Authorisation of Minor Use (EAMU) has been issued for Shark, which acts as an effective herbicide control against a variety of weeds that reside in the planting holes of strawberry crops.
Controlling nuisance weeds that grow within the planting holes of strawberry crops has long presented a significant challenge to growers, with time-consuming weeding by hand until now being the only real solution. Although there are other herbicides for weed prevention in strawberries, Shark will allow growers to take control of existing weeds.
However, with trials of Shark showing it to offer highly successful control of nuisance weeds, it could not only save significantly on labour costs but also help to reduce crop competition and therefore yields. “Given the costs of manual labour required for weeding in strawberry fields, I welcome a project of this nature that helps to identify new products for weed control” says Richard Stanley, a strawberry grower.
Interestingly, the trials with Shark found it to be most effective when applied during the dormant and immediately post-harvest season. The first trial in February showed no lasting effects on plant quality or subsequent fruit yield. Additionally, the second trial, when Shark was applied post-harvest in September, produced a significant reduction in weeds and left no aesthetic effects on newly emerging leaves. The herbicide proved to be particularly effective in getting rid of nuisance weeds such as willow herb, chickweed and groundsel.
Scott Raffle, AHDB Horticulture knowledge exchange manager said: “We are aware that the financial pressures on growers to remove weeds by hand could be in the region of £1,200/ha per session and that they may need to do this a few times each year. With new post-emergence options, we could potentially save £2,000/ha. So, you can imagine that Shark could not be available soon enough.”
Growers can keep up with the latest EAMUs on the AHDB Horticulture website or by signing up to receive industry specific EAMU alerts to their inbox at https://horticulture.ahdb.org.uk/latest-eamus-and-updates.